More about Banksy VS. King Robbo
It’s time to look alive and put on that bulletproof vest because we are about to enter the battlefield of graffiti warfare with two superstar soldiers: Banksy and King Robbo.
Feuds between artists are nothing new. When egos clash, sparks are bound to fly, and few have made that point more clear than the iconic street artist Banksy and his rival King Robbo..
Today, everyone has heard of Banksy. He's the number one sought-after street artist, with a penchant for slandering society with art that can rake in upwards of seven digits. King Robbo, on the other hand, may not be a name you recognize unless you are deep into the world of street art. He gained fame in London in the '80s, during which time he was the undisputed king of graffiti in the UK. But at the height of his career, he decided to retire for fear of getting caught and subsequent legal prosecution. While his empire was vast, all of his pieces began to slowly disappear... except for the one you see in front of you.
The yellow painting in the background was the oldest piece of graffiti in London. Painted in 1985, it was located on the canal underneath the London Transport Police Headquarters in Camden. This piece was a legend and to destroy it would be viewed as sacrilegious.
While many (old people) see graffiti as a counterculture inhabited by degenerates, there is a set of rules that any respectable graffiti artist abides by - one of which is that you do not incorporate another artist’s work into your piece unless you have their permission. Banksy DGAF. He used King Robbo's work in his own composition, destroying a piece of historic graffiti art that had existed for twenty-six years, which is the equivalent of an ancient cave drawing in graffiti time.
Rumor has it that when King Robbo and Banksy met for the first time, Robbo slapped Banksy for the diss. While Banksy denies this, many believe this alleged slap was the start of the feud. Needless to say, King Robbo was not too excited to watch his legacy disappear under the hand of a man he despised so much.
With his reputation at stake, Robbo decided to come out of retirement to set the record straight. Robbo altered the piece again, making it appear as though Banksy’s figure was painting “King Robbo” as a sort of tribute to the artist. Being the clever man he is, Banksy soon added the letters “Fuc”, making the piece say “Fucking Robbo.” Ultimately, Robbo decided to paint the wall black, but the battle did not stop there. All along the canal, these two artists created new pieces in an attempt to bash the other artist’s career. At this point, the dispute got so out of hand that fans of both artists started to bash the other fans in an all out graffiti hate war!
As heated as this quarrel got, the dispute is no more. Robbo suffered a head injury resulting in a coma from which he never woke up. He died at the age of 44.
If you want to learn more about this artistic catfight, check out the documentary "Graffiti Wars".