Banksy’s Great British Spraycation: The Artist Spray Paints England’s Favorite Summer-Holiday Destinations

“We’re all going on a sum­mer hol­i­day / no more work­ing for a week or two,” sings Cliff Richard in one of his most famous songs. “Fun and laugh­ter on a sum­mer hol­i­day / no more wor­ries for me or you.” Like The Bea­t­les’ ultra-north­ern “When I’m Six­ty-Four,” with its cot­tage rentals on the Isle of Wight (“if it’s not too dear”), Richard’s “Sum­mer Hol­i­day” dates from a time in Britain when tourism was, as a rule, domes­tic. And so it has become again over the past cou­ple of years, what with the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic and its severe cur­tail­ment of inter­na­tion­al trav­el. Ever tuned in to cur­rent events, the pseu­do­ny­mous graf­fi­ti artist Banksy has tak­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to go on a “Great British Spray­ca­tion.”

This was a bus­man­’s hol­i­day for Banksy, who appears to have had a detailed plan of exact­ly which east-coast resort towns to vis­it, and exact­ly where in each of them to sur­rep­ti­tious­ly cre­ate anoth­er of his sig­na­ture pieces of high-con­trast satir­i­cal art.

“The sten­ciled pieces are often inte­grat­ed with repur­posed objects from the area, high­light­ing the pre-planned and per­fect­ly posi­tioned nature of the work,” writes Design­boom’s Kat Barandy. “In Low­est­oft, a mas­sive seag­ull dines on a box of ‘chips’ ren­dered by a dump­ster filled with insu­la­tion mate­r­i­al. Near­by a child is depict­ed build­ing a sand­cas­tle with a crow­bar, front­ed by a mound of sand on the pave­ment.”

That work, Arts Uni­ver­si­ty Bournemouth pro­fes­sor Paul Gough tells the BBC for its guide to the Great British Spray­ca­tion, may be a ref­er­ence to the 1968 Paris stu­dent upris­ing and its slo­gan “Sous les pavés, la plage!” You can see these and oth­er fresh works doc­u­ment­ed in the video at the top of the post, which also catch­es the reac­tions of pass­ing locals and tourists. “That looks all like mind­less van­dal­ism, that,” says one woman, artic­u­lat­ing a com­mon assess­ment of Banksy’s artis­tic state­ments. “It looks a lot bet­ter from far away than it does when you get this close,” says anoth­er. But the most telling com­ment, in a vari­ety of respects, comes from a man regard­ing Banksy’s addi­tion of a car­toon­ish tongue and ice cream cone to the stat­ue of 19th-cen­tu­ry may­or Fred­er­ick Sav­age in King’s Lynn: “Yeah, some­one’s done that, ain’t they?”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Dis­ma­land — The Offi­cial Unof­fi­cial Film, A Cin­e­mat­ic Jour­ney Through Banksy’s Apoc­a­lyp­tic Theme Park

Banksy Strikes Again in Lon­don & Urges Every­one to Wear Masks

The Joy of Paint­ing with Bob Ross & Banksy: Watch Banksy Paint a Mur­al on the Jail That Once Housed Oscar Wilde

Banksy Strikes Again in Venice

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.