Should The Mild Mild West Be Protected?

Thanks to the good people behind the excellent Bristol Graffiti Map for this idea. As mentioned yesterday, PRSC took a poll of people nearby and walking past before deciding to clean the splashed paint off the Mild Mild West Banksy. They’re not keen to see it protected against future attack though.

There’s been a fair old debate online about it at the same time though, and Stokes Croft is used by thousands of people passing through into the city, or heading down there only at weekends.

So, good people of the internet, what do you think? Do you think the piece is just like any other graf work, and should be allowed to die and be replaced over time? Or do you think that it’s a piece of such importance and popularity (it’s the last example of a Banksy freehand piece outdoors anywhere as far as this blog knows) that it should be protected from future attack?

Don’t forget that the long term plan is to put up a building around it anyway to protect it long term, so protecting it now would only be a short term thing anyway.


Filed under Banksy, Bristol

27 responses to “Should The Mild Mild West Be Protected?

  1. I say yes, I’m sure Banksy never intended his works to become permanent, but he’s part of Bristol’s history now and unlike the slave trade and tobacco this is something we can be proud of.

  2. And just to add, that fact that this piece is about an important moment in Bristol’s history, the St Paul’s riots makes it more significant. I don’t know of any other tribute to the riots in the city? (sorry if I’m wrong).

    But I really don’t like the suggestion of it being enclosed by the future development of the building, I don’t know the details but it has to remain accessible to all, otherwise it’s goodnight to the teddy.

    • bristolgraffiti

      Important moment, but not the riots, it’s a reference to how the police used to raid free parties down St Philips way iirc. The development has got the go ahead already, so going to happen, but it’s glass fronted so the piece should still be able to be seen from the street. That’s the plan anyway.

  3. Bilko

    Developers are designing buildings around graffiti as opposed to artists designing graffiti to go around buildings…?!!
    Whats going on?!

  4. Let the developers cover it at their expense. Perspex can always be removed.

  5. It appears to be an important piece for the people in Bristol, so maybe it should be protected short term, before some other loosers try to get their 5 minutes of fame and destroy it completly.

  6. “Important moment, but not the riots”

    ah yes silly me.

  7. Me


    Why should his be protected if others aren’t?

    All or nothing bitches.

  8. “but he’s part of Bristol’s history now and unlike the slave trade and tobacco this is something we can be proud of”

    There’s plenty about Bristol we can be proud of that doesn’t involve tobacco and the slave trade. We’ve got grand architecture, the way we pulled through World War II, St Paul’s Carnival, and we’re finally coming to terms with the last 25 years of street art being a part of our culture.

    Unfortunately, we’re still not coming to terms with ALL street artists, we still don’t have enough legal spots, and we still have a bunch of people creating a hierarchy of what’s acceptable, and what’s not. If we’re going to protect Banksy’s illegal piece, then we need to respect everyone else too. Tags, stencils, throw ups… everything. Like the dude above says: ALL OR NOTHING.

    Of course, I’ve moved from Bristol now, so you can take my comments with a pinch of salt.

  9. BMJT

    The above poster obviously doesn’t understand the contextual meaning and significance of this piece. This is beyond ‘run of the mill’ graffiti that can afford to washed away.

  10. a non y mouse

    I agree with BMJT thats why i think we should have a big red theatrical velvet curtain for it on a rail. That ‘someone’ can open and close according to whether it’s a viewing day or not!!!

  11. SB

    “we still don’t have enough legal spots”

    some people would say we have too many.

    according to Bristol has the most ‘legal’ walls in the country, more even than the inner boroughs of London.

    granted they are not all strictly legal but they have all been painted successfully during daylight hours numerous times.

  12. there’s no real reason why this or any other Banksy piece should be preserved. It would be a shame to see it go but you can’t hold on to street art forever thats just not the nature of it, and I’m sure Banksy didn’t expect it to still be here 10 years later. I do though think that if its going to be replaced or painted over it should be by someone making a proper effort at some street art rather than some just having a lame dig at Banksy

  13. BMJT

    That’s not what I mean at all ‘Anonymous’. Your tone suggests a puerile jealousy and I wouldn’t be surprised if you and the above poster ‘Me’ had something to do with the attack in the first place.

  14. BMJT

    Also – By ‘Above poster’ I didn’t mean Natali, I was referring to the dilettante ‘Me’, but I still hold firm that this piece is far beyond the majority of work that is proliferated throughout Bristol and thus deserves preferential treatment. Thus allowing it to be seen by all who visit Bristol for years to come…not to be covered by a red curtain…or red paint for that matter.

  15. Me

    Calm down girl. You are a girl right BMJT? Lol naw I’m just joking around. See I can make jugdements on people without any reason too.

    But seriously. I dont WANT it to go. I wouldn’t go out of my way to paint over anything. I like people decorating the streets.

    I’m just saying, you want a security guard stood infront of it intimedateing people who aren’t dressed in suits and shit? As if it was a gallery?

    It isn’t a gellery. That wall belongs to everyone. He has as much right to be on it as anyone else, but what makes his “art” worth more than that “KER” stencil that made the PRSC banksy defenders come out and paint over it?

  16. BMJT

    Cheers for the response. Do you think that the KER is on a par with the Banksy piece in question? Just so I can gauge your opinions of street art.

  17. Brian Kewell

    ‘but what makes his “art” worth more than that “KER” stencil that made the PRSC banksy defenders come out and paint over it?’

    no straightforward answer to this will satisfy you. that is, i think you need to find the answer out for yourself. if you don’t know the value (not financial value) of art, you need to do some digging.

    start here:


  18. Brian Kewell

    as for protecting it, i say yes. it is a mural, and a good one at that. it took inspiration from a local ‘issue’ and manages to convey it in a universally understood way. thats hard to pull off. it is beloved by former members of the free party scene and probably by youngsters who weren’t even born then.

    i disagree with the argument that it is ‘street art/graffiti’ and therefore some of its appeal lies in its impermanence. i love a bit of Wabi Sabi as much as the next man but i also love seeing art ‘in the flesh’, indeed that is the ONLY way to experience it in my opinion. good visual art is ineffable and eludes the efforts of the camera to capture it.

    to those who say ‘protect all or nothing’, by your reasoning the maxim could easily become ‘vandalise all or nothing’, could it not? where do you draw the line? a Diego Rivera mural? a Michelangelo fresco? those are painted on walls using not very durable paint, too.

  19. Me

    Obviously the Banksy is nicer on the eye and has had far more thought but into it than the KER.

    But that is not my point. My point is more to do with freedom of speech. Their is an old saying that goes somthing like: “I don’t aggree with you, but I will defend your right to express it to the death”. In this case it can be used like: “That KER isn’t anything special, but he obviously prefers it to the Banksy, and if he wants it there, he deserves the oportunity to have it their”.

    Why do we (and by we I mean the PRSC white knights…) get to make a judgement that we don’t like one persons self expression (going a little over-board with these OTT terms I know but bear with me), but we like somone elses, so lets destroy the one we dont like and save the other?

  20. BMJT

    I totally agree with the freedom of expression, I think that is inherent to the beauty of street art, but surely KER is negating Banksy’s freedom of speech by going over his work?

    If he had done it somewhere else I wouldn’t have a problem. I’ve said it before, but this is an important historical piece for Bristol, in my opinion sitting alongside the architecture of the City that makes Bristol unique and distinctive, something that is becoming ever-more difficult in an increasingly globalised society. And thus, I think it deserves far more regard than a throw-away tag that only really embodies the meaning of one person, the artist, and speaks little to anyone else. Simply wrong place, wrong time.

    Also, A tag can be re-done a thousand times anywhere the ‘artist’ wants. This piece is a one-time thing, once it’s gone it’s gone, I doubt Banksy would come back and do any more freehand work here.

  21. BMJT

    Also, Brian makes some excellent points, and pretty much sums it up for me.

  22. Brian Kewell

    there was a painting by Delacroix, right here in Bristol, in the City Museum & Art Gallery, that was in a somewhat ‘deep’ frame and protected by glass. i don’t know if its still on display. anyway it was a small circular canvas and was hung in such a way that no matter where you stood the fluorescent light fittings on the ceiling always seemed to be reflected in the glass – it was incredibly frustrating!

    if the Banksy piece was to be protected by a ‘glass atrium’ i wonder if we would have the same problem?

  23. Decy

    I don’t see what the isue is here, so banksy’s piece got dissed, so what??
    Graf/street art is not permanent, banksy might sell his stuff for big money but he hasn’t contributed as much as other artists and they don’t have a free reign to not have their stuff buffed or protected.
    I admit I would rather have seen someone go over it with a nice piece rather than a mindless diss of it but that is life.
    I remember walking past him while he was doing that piece and used to walk past it everyday to work but sentimentality over it is not something I have, once i have seen a piece once or twice, maybe caught a photo of it then that is it, it is gone for me in my mind, if people missed it the first time round that is their problem

    the question to me is why should any of banksy’s work have the respect it has, he is no different to any other graf artist in bristol or the world, he deserves no extra priviledge

  24. Me

    Thank you Decy.

    Finally someone who agrees.

  25. Buffin

    Banksy’s work is unique and to say he is no differant from any other artist in Bristol is naive at best.

    Yes protect this iconic piece from the wannabes and others who think they are God’s gift. Bristol just doesn’t seem to know what its got.

  26. a non y mouse

    but to be fair Chlamydia is quite hard to detect!

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