Do you remember the other day when I briefly mentioned Banksy, the street artist from Bristol, England? Well, much to my delight, I found this article late Monday evening from the Metro Times that broke the story that Banksy tagged Detroit.
This excited me beyond words!
I have been a fan of Banksy since hearing about him when I moved to the UK years ago. I still regret that in the 5 years that I lived there that I had never happened upon or looked for his work.
So, with cross-streets in hand and the rain heaving down, my husband and I went on a Banksy hunt yesterday.
We first went to the location of the Tightrope Rat in Warren, Michigan (on the west side of Van Dyke between Anna and Gerald).
We knew which building we were looking for, it's the only industrial building at that location, but we drove around the block for a good 20 minutes before we noticed it. I guess it was smaller than I expected and it blends in pretty well.
Did I mention it that it was pouring cats and dogs? Oh, and there was a huge puddle a few feet from the Tightrope Rat. Standing on the edge of the puddle, I attempted to take my first photo of a Banksy.
And at that point, a few semi trucks decided to drive through the puddle soaking my husband and I from head to toe. As my gentlemanly husband tried to shield me from the tidal wave, I did my best to protect my camera.
Here is Tightrope Rat by Banksy:
The chain tightrope that the rat is walking on is an actual chain, it isn't part of the painting.
And here is a close-up that shows the gold glitter, star shaped glasses that the Tightrope Rat dons.
We then headed further south to see our second Banksy of the day (at the Circle Cleaners on the west side of Van Dyke between Milton and Palmetto in Detroit).
This is Diamond Girl.
Look again at the first known picture of Diamond Girl from the Metro Times and then look back at my photos. They chiseled out all the bricks around her. Someone was trying to steal her.
Late last night, I found this post on Twitter:
You can see from this picture that Banksy’s Diamond Girl in Detroit isn’t there anymore. This had to have happened only hours after we left.
Sadness set in.
Yes, there’s the possibility that someone took Diamond Girl to keep her in tact but I won’t believe it till I see it.
There is one more Banksy in Detroit, “I remember when all this was trees” was at the crumbling Packard Plant. I’m not sure where it is now. It seems the people from the 555 Gallery have removed it to preserve it.
I’m not sure how I feel about that.
I saw a tweet earlier that said something like “Stay away from my city, Banksy.” I, however, am proud that he thought of us, that he decided to stop in Detroit.
Yes, it might just be a PR stunt to promote his movie, “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” but I look at it from a different perspective. I had to go to the UK to find the love of my life and I had to return to Detroit to see my first Banksy. These things happen.
I’m hoping that the graffiti, street, or urban artists (whatever they call themselves) show some respect. Please don’t tag over Tightrope Rat. Banksy’s work has given your genre respect; don’t take that away.