‘Banksy’ Harrogate graffiti draws attention

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Distinctive graffiti in Harrogate town centre has left people wandering if the little rat on a wall between Kings Road and Back Cheltenham Mount was drawn by world famous graffiti artist, Banksy.

Ali Bakhtiary who owns a phone and computer shop next to the footpath said he had noticed quite a few people going to take photos of the drawing.

“It is not too bad, a few people seem to be interested in it and taking pictures, but some older people have been scowling at it,” he said.

Street art photographer Andrew Michell noticed the piece yesterday and told the Advertiser he is sure it is by the elusive artist.

He said: “I have photographed Banksy’s work before in London and Bristol so I know his signature style.

“I am very aware of his work and obviously he has a big profile and attracts tourists. Whenever I have seen his work in London there have been crowds of tourists taking photos.”

Anna Wilmore who works in marketing at the Harrogate International Centre popped out on her lunch break to take a photo of the graffiti after reading about it on the Harrogate Advertiser website.

“I thought I should come up and have a look at it, it is so cool.

“I don’t know if it is a Banksy but it is getting a nice little bit of attention and a little site to see.”

She added: “I don’t know how I really feel about graffiti but this is quirky.”

One council worker who saw the piece said: “It should be cleaned off, personally I think it looks childish. I have seen some graffitti that has some skill but this just looks like scribbles.”

It is not known when the graffiti first appears on the wall near the steps behind Cartridge World but Andrew said he spotted it when walking from a friends house on Wednesday March 5.

It is very difficult to verify if street art is by Bristol street artist Banksy, or if it is a copy cat.

Banksy’s work has sold for hundred of thousands of pounds with one his most famous pieces, Kissing Coppers which was spray-painted on the side of a pub in Brighton selling for £345,000 last month.

Jane Sellers, curator of the Mercer Gallery went to have a look at the graffiti and said the rat was a ‘sweet little painting.’

She said: “I have never seen his stuff in reality before, it is a sweet little painting but I would be very surprised if Banksy was in Harrogate, why would he have come here?”

Jon Kendall from RedHouse Originals Gallery on Cheltenham Mount said: ““I just went to see the piece and there were people taking pictures of the rat with their cameraphones. It’s like a little bit of Bristol has come to Harrogate. It’s great to see some colour on thestreets and clearly the artist is a huge influence. The image conveys a great message and is quite well executed but I’m not sure Banksy paints rats anymore.

“Whenever we show his work at RedHouse there is great interest, he always pulls a crowd.”

Have you seen the graffiti? Do you smell a rat or do you think it could be the real thing? Email Ackrill.News@ypn.co.uk or tweet @HarrogateHound with your thoughts.