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Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 12:36 UK
Banksy art vandalism is 'stupid'

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Alex says it is 'sad' the Banksy mural has been damaged

One of Banksy's most famous pieces of art work has been vandalised in Bristol's Stokes Croft.

A group calling themselves Appropriate Media say they "repainted" Banksy's Mild Mild West in the early hours of Monday April 6, 2009, to present an "alternative version of this alternative Bristol landmark".

The people of Stokes Croft have reacted angrily to the vandalism, which saw red paint sprayed all over it.

One local man told BBC Bristol: "I really hope it's not permanent paint. It's one of the first pieces of graffiti art work in Stokes Croft. I'm shocked.

Mild Mild West vandalised

"I know that in some graffiti circles he [Banksy] is not actually seen in the best light. But, to do something like that is extremely disrespectful. You wouldn't do that anywhere, it's against the rules."

The feeling was echoed by a local woman, who told us: "The vandalism is terrible, it's a really nice bit of graffiti there and a lot of people are talking about it. I think it's a great shame.

"We are well known for having a Banksy; I guess it's a perpetration of his work really. I think it's a shame, I mean if the building's going to be knocked down then it's one thing, but just to vandalise it is really bad."

Alex lives in the building where Mild Mild West is painted. The first thing he heard about it was when he left his flat and saw the commotion outside.

He said: "It's really stupid. Banksy is a well respected person in Bristol, especially in this neighbourhood, Stokes Croft.

"It's just well renowned for having graffiti everywhere, it looks good, it's accepted, and then some person does this."

Oli Wells is the director of Coexist, the organisation working on the regeneration of Stokes Croft.

He said: "I'm confused at the message from whoever did it. We're fully aware of the nature of Stokes Croft being an outdoor gallery and open to all sorts of interpretation and retaliation and comment, but I can't understand why target Banksy - are they against the regeneration of the area?

"Coexist is about positive change - enhancing it as a cultural quarter - and I don't see how spraying red paint is helping with the positive change."

Mr Wells added: "It's being cleaned up by the community who sit outside and enjoy the artwork. Street drinkers and local businesses working together to actively clean it so quickly - that seems to indicate the local community like having the Banksy.

"I'd love to talk to these people and find out what they're interested in and the part they'd like to play in Stokes Croft. We have an open door and would welcome their involvement in the project.

"I'm pleased they want to be involved in the community."


A selection of your comments ...

As Banksy no doubt believes in freedom of expression, surely he would have to condone the actions of the 'vandals' and their right to protest?
Jeeves, Bristol

This act can be justified or not according to what you believe, but one interesting thing is how the meaning of Appropriate Media's graffiti is of itself unclear; their statement to the press on the back of it held their message. As a calculated move to manipulate the press into widely broadcasting their message this graffiti has apparently achieved its purpose. It's only a shame it looks rubbish.
Jaques, Worcester

The means of protest is wrong, but I agree with the sentiments. It is not acceptable to spend your life (or, indeed, any part of it) defacing other people's property. There may be some artistic merit in the daubings but that is very far from being the point. Get a sketchbook, my lad (or lass)!
Dave, Crewe

Gentrification of Stokes Croft can only be a positive and good thing. The area is badly in need of careful regeneration. Why would a protest group be against this, as well as damaging an iconic work of graffiti to prove such a point? Appropriate Media have made very few friends by this action!!
Phil, Bristol

I have been very impressed by how the local people in the Stokes Croft area have rallied together to improve their environment and fully understand their anger at what can only be described as wanton vandalism.
Jacqui, Bristol

This looks like a publicity stunt to be honest. I'd never heard of Appropriate Media before, but there are getting some attention now.
Justin, Bristol

This was/is one of Banksy's best pieces representing the free party scene in and around the West Country. It belonged to the people of Bristol not to some public school educated fine art students from Surrey. Appropriate Media will not be able to show their faces in Bristol ever again. Good.
Steve, Cardiff

Stokes Croft is currently a bit of a dive & desperately in need of some regeneration. If Appropriate Media are really against what they see as 'gentrification' and 'forcing local people out of the area', why didn't they target the luxury flats that are going up, or the council who are closing down the local clubs? No, they'd rather try and destroy one of the few good things about the area - our wonderful street art. Much of their "manifesto" has been cut & pasted from an old Guardian article anyway.
Phil, Stokes Croft

What Stokes Croft needs is regeneration not gentrification. The latter suggests an influx of overpriced housing out of the reach of the average Bristolian. Yes, the area could do with improvement but not at the expense of the vibrant art and music vibe of the area.
Lee, Bristol

Even though originally the Banksy work was vandalism, it has now become the no.1 Alternative landmark of Bristol. I live a couple of minutes from it and always point it out to any people that come to visit. I am glad to hear they have fixed it at least.
Nick, Bristol

I lived in Stokes Croft for two years and I don't think the area can ever be 'gentrified'. I do however think it is entirly possible and right to clean up the area to benefit those who live there whilst still keeping for example, much loved public graffti and independent shops. No matter how you view it, the area is dirty and full of litter. Throwing paint about does seem to fit in with this group's apparent ideal of keeping Stokes Croft a deprived area of Bristol. They probably don't even live there.
Jo, Bristol

What an outrageous and cowardly action. I am so glad that the great people of Stokes Croft managed to clean the Mild, mild. The image must now be protected.
Gerry, Bristol

Am I the only one who thinks this is a weird bit of Bristolian hypocrisy? Banksy isn't exactly well known for asking the property owners permission for vandalising their properties. Heck look at Park street, they were going to remove that window art he did for being graffiti. Granted most people think Banksy is an artist, but he and these vandals aren't much better than each other. I for one am a fan of his work, that particular piece amused me many a time. But you can't condone one, and condemn another, simply because one is more artistic, than the other is vandalistic. Perspective people!
'A Nony Mouse', Bristol

I have lived near Stokes Croft for nearly 10 years and really appreciate the efforts of those creative people who make the area such an interesting and vibrant place to live. The street art and public galleries are an asset to the community and its a shame that others seek to vandalise and deface them, rather than use more positive actions.
Dawn, Bristol

I pass this piece pretty much everyday and I passed it today on my way to work. I do remember seeing the red paint on it a few weeks ago but it's not on there now! I think it's all a publicity stunt and it's all too late!
Carmel, Bristol