06:00 July 4, 2022
The Banksy artwork that was pulled from Lowestoft and sold for millions has been recreated in a mural by a local artist.
Joe Thompson, 61, said it was a blow to the community when the world-renowned artist’s latest work, from his tour for the Great British Spraycation in August 2021, was taken in Lowestoft.
Banksy left his iconic works of art in places around Norfolk and Suffolk, some of which are still in place, but the graffiti image of a child digging a sandcastle on the side of the former Lowestoft Electrical store on London Road North was sold for £2 million by the owners of the building.
But Mr Thompson took it upon himself to create his own work of art, which he spray-painted on the side of his own house in the High Street, called the ‘Banksy ATM’, in a bid to spark a debate about art and community.
He said: “The city was really proud that he came here, but to see him then retired and shipped off for profit was disappointing.
“That’s not why Banksy did it.
“I’ve always been a Banksy fan and what I like is that you look at his work but you don’t really know what he means by that. So that starts a debate.
“That’s what inspired me to do the Banksy vending machine.”
Using a photograph he had taken of Banksy’s original artwork, Mr Thompson then set about creating a stencil.
He completed the mural on Friday, July 1, complete with a QR code that explains his reasonings for creating the artwork.
“I’m a graphic designer by trade,” he added.
“I’ve never done anything like this. But I was really proud of how it turned out.
“But I’m not trying to mislead anyone, I just want to start a debate, which is to be proud of our region.
“We’ve had some great feedback already. Everyone is welcome to come take a look.”
Mr Thompson said he was also looking for other street artists to add their work to his wall.
A recreation of the city’s Banksy artwork on London Road North, by local artist Greater Than, was recently tagged in reference to a decades-old feud between graffiti artists.
“Team Robbo” was painted on the protective screen, apparently in reference to a long-running feud between Banksy and a London artist.