Wall Paper Hanging
Location: Regent’s Canal, Camden, London, England
Wallpaper Hanging is a vibrant piece of street art located beside Regent’s Canal tunnel and under the London Transport Police Headquarters in Camden. The mural, painted in 2009, represents a city worker in Banksy’s iconic stencil style, covering the work of another graffiti artist painted in 1985 with grey wallpaper.
This particular wall became the battleground of a graffiti war between Banksy and the now deceased London graffiti legend King Robbo. Shortly after, Robbo struck back and covered Banksy’s piece on the pretext that he broke the underground code of conduct.
The wall had undergone eight other modifications from both artists. The feud stopped when King Robbo was hospitalized for life-threatening head injuries. When Banksy heard about King Robbo’s serious health condition, he painted an ode to Robbo’s original graffiti piece.
As a tribute to Robbo, the mural was restored to its original form with slight changes.
Banksy versus Robbo
It all started in 1985 with Robbo creating one of London’s earliest graffitis.
In 1985, 15-year-old King Robbo painted a graffiti work under the British Transport Police Headquarters on a wall beside Regent’s Canal in Camden, London which was only accessible by water. A large full color graffiti piece, called “Robbo Incorporated”, it had over the years become the oldest piece of graffiti in London. Over time, virtually all of his works had been gradually removed from London’s trains and walls by authorities, except for this piece.
In 2009 however, Banksy destroyed most of it with a stencil of a workman pasting wallpaper.
King Robbo has stated that Banksy was introduced to him for the first time in the 1990s, commenting:
“I was at a place called the Dragon Bar on Old Street. I was introduced to a couple of guys who were like ‘[W]hoa it’s nice to meet you!’. When I was introduced to Banksy, I went ‘Oh yeah I’ve heard of you mate, how you doing?’ and he went ‘[W]ell I’ve never heard of you’…he dismissed me as a nobody, as nothing. So with that I slapped him and went ‘[O]h what you ain’t heard of me? [Y]ou won’t forget me now will you?’ [A]nd with that he picked up his glasses and ran off.
On Christmas Day 2009, Robbo reclaimed his piece from Banksy‘s defacing by covering the work so the workman appeared to be painting “KING ROBBO” in silver letters. Three days later the letters “FUC” appeared before the word “KING”. Tit-for-tat overpainting continued at the site with artwork and insults including a picture a cat leaning on a gravestone with the words “R.I.P. Banksy’s career”.
In 2014 LDN Graffiti published an illustrated timeline of the feud.
In 2015 Banksy included a piece dedicated to Robbo in the Dismaland exhibition.
1985 – Robbo paints one of London’s earliest piece
2006 – The piece gets dogged
2009 – Banksy paints a bloke ‘wallpapering’ up the graffiti
After months of deliberation
Banksy comes up with an ingenious response
Robbo is having none of it
The wall is painted black, presumably by the council
Or someone who objects to two grown men acting like children
July 2010 – Robbo accuses Banksy of having a career