Street artists risk prison for their creations, and yet their work is often removed just hours after they complete it. London-based artist DS found a clever response: After his “Bad Kitty” stencil was painted over, he stenciled over it again with the exact image of the cleaner who removed it.
DS talked Metro through the process and explained why having your work destroyed is part of the game.
Metro: Why choose a cute cartoon as a subject for edgy graffiti?
DS: I like to use contrasting or conflicting imagery. Hello Kitty has a very innocent and squeaky-clean image, but like a lot of famous people — real or fictional — their public persona can be very different to who they actually are. I’d like to think this is Hello Kitty’s.
Tell us about your ‘revenge’ on the worker who destroyed it?
It took me about an hour and a half. It’s a busy road and was a windy night, so not ideal for using fragile stencils. I wanted to get the piece as close to the image as possible, especially the facial expression.
Have you heard a response from the worker?
I haven’t heard a response from him, but on my Facebook page, his son and a friend commented when I posted it: ‘That is actually my dad — fact!’ and ‘Harry Morcombe now a Facebook legend!’
You’ve criticized the acclaim for Banksy’s work, while other street art is classified as graffiti and taken down. Do you think anyone should be allowed to put up street art?
It’s a strange time for street art at the moment. Banksy does a piece and it gets protected by the council with Perspex (protective sealant), and another piece from an artist who is just as edgy with better technical skills gets taken down.
I don’t think the council should decide on the legitimacy of a piece, but rather let graffiti run its natural course, even if that means great art being removed, tagged, or painted over — another (piece) will takes its place.