Friday, October 25, 2013

October 24, 2013: Going to see a new Banksy art work

Date: October 24, 2013
Event: Going to see a new Banksy art work
Location: Hells Kitchen, New York City
Summary: I've been swept up in the Banksy hype and I love it!!

So, I’ll admit, I’ve gotten completely swept up in Banksy. It’s SOOOOOOO New York and it’s also art. Of COURSE I’m going to get swept up in it. For those that don’t know who Banksy is, he is a graffiti artist based in the U.K. who is spending a month in New York. Every morning he posts something on his website ( indicating what that day’s art is and its general location. Many of the works have been destroyed or removed already. Also, the NYPD is after him since what he’s doing (graffiti) is technically illegal. So seeing a new work as quickly as possible is key.

Sadly, I have not been in New York for most of October so I haven’t been able to actually go *see* any. So, yesterday, I decided that the moment the new work was revealed, I’d go see it, no matter where it was.

This is my little treasure hunt for the elusive Banksy art. :)

And it was like a treasure hunt! After seeing the photo posted on his website, the hints for its location were “Hells Kitchen” which isn’t such a great hint, but one of the photos indicated it was painted on a door at Larry Flint’s Hustler Club. Nice. That’s easy enough to google.

Not so easy to get to. 12th Ave means lots of walking. So into the subway I went and then took to the sidewalk to hoof it out to 12th.

It was clear as I neared it that there was already a crowd. An excited crowd. So amazing to see this group of New Yorkers of all different stripes flocking to a strip club at 11:30 in the morning, and for what? For ART. ART. Awesome.

Here is a picture of my approach.

As I got there I could barely see the painting. But this, this right here, was my very first picture of the new work (lol, yep, that pretty much sums up what it was like trying to get a picture).

See what I mean – this is the crowd


It was about this time that a befuddled mounted officer strolled by. I heard him ask if the guy in the Knicks cap (there was a man in a Knicks cap that was guarding the painting) was Banksy. Someone responded to the officer “Maybe!”. The officer asked again, more serious, “The man in the Knicks cap is Banksy?!” Someone else responded that no one knows what Bansky looks like. The guy then said to the officer, “He might just be Banksy, I might be Banksy. You might be Banksy. Your horse might be Banksy. No one knows!” LOL Loved that exchange.

I then made my way into the crowd, patiently waiting on the outskirts and slowly making my way in as people rotated out. It was fun just watching and listening to people talk and get their pictures taken. The Man In the Knicks Cap, as I said, appeared to be a guard. If someone tried to approach the painting without asking, he’d stop them (see below).

But, really, he was very friendly and if you asked if you could pose with the painting, he’d go “Oh, yes, of course!”. Here were some of my favorite poses:





Also, all the while people kept asking the guard things, “When does this door go up? Are they going to raise this gate on time or keep it down? What will happen when it’s raised? Do you work for the club? Do you know Banksy?” He pretty much said, “I don’t know, I was just called and told to be here.” So, really, he was a bit of a mystery, too, but no one seemed to mind all that much. It’s all part of the fun of not knowing, you know?

Then I got into the act, too. LOL My first attempt to pose with the Banksy was a miserable failure of a selfie while kneeling at the front of the crowd.

Then I got a proper pose. It’s me and a Banksy!

Also, I took this picture from the position I posed. THIS is what life would look like if you were a Banksy, ha!

Now, the art itself (because that was, after all, what we were there to see). The two photos below are (obviously) the same photo but the one on the right is without the big shadow that the sun was casting. It was hilarious because as SOON as the sun went behind a cloud, you could just hear all the camera shutters going and they wouldn’t let anyone pose with the painting while the sun was behind a cloud because everyone wanted a picture without the huge lighting difference.


Here are just some other shots and close ups.





Finally it was time for me to rotate out and let others in to see it. But it was fun to hang close and listen to people give interviews to the (multiple) news crews that were there. One family was there with their two little girls and the youngsters were asked how many Banksy’s they’d seen. This was their fourth. One woman said she was here because Banksy was her favorite artist and to be able to see one of his works in person, to get that close, to even touch it was an opportunity not to be missed. Someone else replied to the question of why this is such a phenomena with “Its New York. We love people who do amazing things. And this guy is doing amazing things.”

For me – yes, I know it’s graffiti. Yes, I know it’s technically “defacing” property. But it’s also art. I see it more as social disobedience more than doing something illegal. Also, this guy has unarguably increased the quality of life for a whole bunch of New Yorkers. This guy has made people *excited* about art. That, all by itself, is amazing. And to that I say “cheers!”

Now, the adventure wasn’t quite over… because as I was leaving, I just so happen to see these two guys walking down the sidewalk towards me. And I recognized one of them… OMG, it was Jason Jones from The Daily Show!!


After that, I just stuck around for a moment or two longer to see if anyone else would recognize Jason Jones or to see if any Daily Show cameras would show up. They didn’t, but I got this super awesome picture and, is it just me or does it look like Jason Jones was the model for this Banksy? … hey, maybe Jason Jones *is* Banksy! ;)


The mystery continues…

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