It’s hard to have a conversation about street art without someone bringing up London street artist, Banksy. Certainly a figure that divides opinion there is no doubting he knows how to start a conversation.

His most recent piece at Bridge Farm Primary School in Banksy’s hometown of Bristol has certainly caused another stir. The piece appeared overnight after the children of Bridge Farm wrote to the artist explaining how they have named one of the buildings in the primary school after him. The piece displays a young stick-figure girl using a stick to push along a very realistic tyre on fire. The 14 ft piece of artwork comes with a rare Banksy signature in the bottom left corner and is confirmed to be authentic by Banksy’s representatives.

The piece of work came with a note for the ‘Caretaker’ of the school that reads:

“Dear Bridge Farm School,

Thanks for your letter and naming a house after me. Please have a picture, and if you don’t like it, feel free to add stuff. I’m sure the teachers won’t mind.

Remember, it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Much love, Banksy”

banksy note

Headteacher Geoff Mason has explained that they will unfortunately not be allowing the children to take Banksy’s advice in ‘If you don’t like it, feel free to add stuff’ but they have ensured they will not be tearing it down and rather be preserving it for the entire community to enjoy. There is no doubt that they could make a pretty penny if they did decide to sell the piece, as many of the anti-capitalist artist’s pieces ironically go for enormous sums of money. Mr. Mason continued on explaining that the artwork would be regarded as “inspirational and aspirational” for the students.

The addition of “It’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission” should essentially be Banksy’s slogan at this point, but is that really good advice for kids? Is it a good thing that the students look to a street artist, or as some would prefer ‘Vandal’, as their inspiration or someone the should aspire to? The idea of a new generation of graffiti artists would have some shuddering with disgust.

The flip-side is that maybe he just want’s to inspire a new generation of artists and kids to think for themselves. To inspire their creativity or to assist them to critically think about the world they are going to inherit. Banksy often attempts to bring what he believes are important messages into the public eye, even if you believe they are about as subtle as a brick to the face, you can appreciate the intention.

Whether you believe that he is vandal and shouldn’t be something for kids to aspire to, there is no denying the positive impact he has on his community. If the children can use their imagination to fill out their world – much like Banksy’s latest piece – then that can only be positive for their personal development. It allows the children of Bridge Farm Primary School to believe that they can make an impact on the world, like another kid from Bristol undeniably has.

At the very least grow up to be divided on Banksy’s work, just like the rest of us.