Hull’s Banksy Hero: Jason Fanthorpe chats to Hull Central on his art-saving heroics

2 February 2018

From delight, to uproar, to releif, all in the space of 48 hours. It’s fair to say Banksy’s newest piece of art has had a hectic start to life in Hull.

After being discovered on Friday morning and confirmed via the artist’s Instagram page in the afternoon, ‘Draw The Raised Bridge’ was vandalised late on Sunday evening, causing uproar across the city.

But one local window cleaner wasn’t just going to stand there and watch while Banksy’s masterpiece because just a memory. With his van already packed, Jason Fanthorpe picked up his ladders and bottle of white spirit, and headed down to Bankside to do what he could to save the work.

It’s fair say Jason won’t need to buy his own drinks for a while, dubbed the city’s new local hero.

Hull Central reporter Lewis Scott sat down with Jason to discuss what has probably been the most hectic week of his life!

“When I heard about the Banksy work on Friday, I was so overjoyed and excited. I couldn’t wait to get out and photograph it! I went late Saturday night, after midnight with my camera and ran into a fine bunch of fellows all discussing it.

“We stayed for over an hour with various other people coming and going. The atmosphere was superb. Taxi drivers pulling up with their customers, all getting out and taking pictures. Police stopping, not to tell us off for being the wrong side of the barriers but to take pictures for themselves! Community spirit at its finest.

“Then late on Sunday night, I saw on the ‘One Hull of a City’ Facebook group that it had been defaced. I was nothing short of fuming. Here we are having an internationally renowned artist gift a work of his valuable art to the city and somebody goes and obscures it in the first couple of days.

“It had already been drawing in visitors from all over the country, and that’s got to be a good thing for the city, even if you don’t like his work. Tourists spend money. It may be a vast oversimplification but surely more tourism means potholes getting mended faster for example? We do have a lot of potholes.

“I was just going to bed, disappointed by the news, but someone had said that the work was still intact around nine o’clock so I thought that the paint might still be wet and if anything was to be done about it, it’d be better sooner rather than later. So I grabbed some white spirit and jumped in the van.

“When I arrived, there were already people there, also angry. It all seemed so mindless. It wasn’t even vaguely an attempt at art covering up the piece, it was just a spiteful blob.

“I can’t comprehend why someone would do that. Maybe they had their reasons, but it was very selfish to take something away that brings so many people such excitement and happiness. I hope they realise what a nonsensical hurtful act it was, and that they come to appreciate an art form of their choosing. It really does makes your life richer.

“But with regards to protecting the work, I feel for the council. They’re between a rock and a hard place. If they protect it then they’ll be criticised for condoning ‘vandalism’. If they don’t protect it they’ll be criticised for letting a golden opportunity pass Hull by. They can’t win. I’m personally glad they’ve put the perspex sheet up, but street art IS temporary by nature so if we appreciate it we just have to get out there and see it quick before it goes!”

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