Critics call the graffiti artist a genius, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have paid £1m for his work. But Hackney council has ordered its workers to power-hose his pictures out of sight
By Cole Moreton
Published: 28 October 2007
What is the biggest eyesore on the streets of east London? A giant rat with a knife and fork in its paws, apparently. Or a rioter throwing flowers. Hackney council says these subversive images are making the place look dirty and have to go – even if they were spray-painted by Banksy, the art world's most unlikely superstar.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have just paid £1m for some of his work. From Hollywood to Hoxton, art collectors are prepared to pay big money for anything Banksy does, with his most expensive single piece, Space Girl and Bird, selling for £288,000 at Bonhams in April. But Hackney council doesn't care.