Well, well, well this piece by John D’oh caused something of a stir locally, and I shall try and give a brief description of why. It first appeared down a little side lane off St Michael’s hill about three weeks ago. I had spotted it from a bus on my way to work and registered it as one to come back to to photograph. The first lesson here is always take pictures of street art when you see it, because if you wait it will be gone next time you pass by, and this is exactly what happened with this.
The following week I was on my way to five-a-side football and it was still there and I made a mental note of coming back ASAP to take some pictures. On my way home an hour and a half later it had been buffed with white paint.
At pretty much the same time, there was a story on the Bristol Live website that it might be a Banksy, and stories like this always cause a stir. The piece is actually a clever adaptation of a Banksy work painted in Los Angeles entitled ‘Playhouse foreclosure‘. The core elements are the same, but the builder is absent, and the little girl is standing on the other side of the playhouse facing the other way.
The central point of the piece however was to enter into the realms of debate over the copyright of street art. It is critical of the stance taken by Banksy (and his lawyers) who recently won a case against a museum in Milan for selling Banksy Merchandise. Banksy has always had a pretty firm position of being against copyright and intellectual property rights, so this piece is simply highlighting the hypocrisy.
Having said that, this is a really difficult area for street artists and one that causes a lot of lively discussion. I know that John D’oh admires Banksy greatly, and has in the past used Banksy’s work and inspiration for his own work. In this instance I think he is being deliberately provocative to highlight this copyright/ideology minefield.
So how did I get my pictures? Well the great thing about stencils is that they can be used again and again, and within a couple of days, John D’oh had returned and repainted the piece (you can see the white paint that had been used to buff the original). Who buffed it in the first place and why, well we might never know, but all’s well that ends well.