King Robbo

robbo-rip

King Robbo is an English underground graffiti artist who became more widely known following a graffiti war with Banksy. Robbo painted his first train in 1985 and the ‘Merry Christmas’ train of 1988, a joint piece created with ‘Drax WD,’ received coverage in the British media.

His feud with Banksy burnished Robbo’s profile and he entered the commercial art world with a number of gallery shows and commissions in 2010. In 1985 King Robbo painted a large full color graffiti piece called ‘Robbo Incorporated’ on a wall beside Regent’s Canal in London which was only accessible by water. Over the years it became degraded with a few small pieces of graffiti over the top.

In 2009, allegedly Banksy, covered most of it with a stencil of a workman pasting wallpaper. On Christmas Day 2009, Robbo responded by covering the work so the workman appeared to be painting King Robbo in silver letters. Three days later, the letters ‘Fuc’ appeared before the King. Tit-for-tat overpainting continued at the site with artwork and insults including a picture of Top Cat leaning on a gravestone with the words ‘R.I.P. Banksy’s career.’ This incident led online outrage against Banksy and a graffiti war with many of Banksy’s other works being altered by ‘Team Robbo.’ Notable including the piece ‘Hitchhiker to Anywhere’ where the ‘anywhere’ was changed to ‘going nowhere.’

In 2011 King Robbo sustained a life threatening head injury 5 days prior to his exhibition at the Signal Gallery in London: ‘Team Robbo – The Sell Out Tour.’ It is believed the injury happened as a result of an accidental fall. His recovery has been slow. Later that year, the Camden Robbo mural was painted over with a black and white depiction of the original with the additions of a crown and a can of spray paint with a flame above it. It was rumored to be done by Banksy in an effort to end the feud and in a sense ‘lighting a candle’ for Robbo who was still in comatose condition. The mural was restored to its original form by ‘Team Robbo’ on Christmas Eve of that year.

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