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As Authorities Crack Down, Banksy Enters The Olympic Graffiti Games

Was there any chance Banksy would sit out the 2012 Olympics? Probably not.

As Authorities Crack Down, Banksy Enters The Olympic Graffiti Games

Banksy strikes again. Even as the authorities crack down on graffiti artists in the run-up to the games (to make the city safe for all that branding, presumably), the U.K.’s most famous street artist is refusing to sit out the festivities. So far, two new Olympic-themed pieces have emerged, both brimming with the kind of subversive wit that helped inspire the recent Brandalism project.

The first piece depicts a javelin thrower, who has apparently upgraded to much heavier artillery. The second work is the showier of the two, playfully integrating the surroundings into the piece. It’s an image of a pole vaulter who has just released his grip on the pole and is about to fly over a barbed-wired enclosure. The detail-work in the way the Olympian’s body is positioned makes it look as though he really is flying over that fence.

It remains to be seen if these two images are just the beginning of a bigger push from the artist as the games get under way later this week and if the graffiti police will actually make good on their promise to power wash away the works that appear pre-games.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.



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