As the first and only known Banksy holds on for dear life in the South Wales town of Port Talbot – it was time to visit the industrial town to view his latest masterpiece and try to discover whether the benefits from this work are paying off?
Having seen original Banksy work in Bristol, London and even Los Angeles – it was crazy that there was one sitting only a few miles away from Cardiff and I’ve not visited it yet.
From living in Cardiff all my life and having numerous holidays in West Wales with our yearly trek up the M4 going past a very pungent Port Talbot was always our lasting memory of the town… until now!
So a bee-line was made for Taibach – the small part of Port Talbot where at the end of 2018 Banksy painted his first piece in Wales and titled it ‘Season’s Greetings’
With the Port Talbot steel works visible over the tops of every row of terraced houses – life still carried on as normal with loud traffic thundering by above on the busy M4 motorway even though things have changed here over the last few months.
The police and local council implemented some measures including traffic cones and road closures which led the way to the Banksy which could be seen in the distance.
Located in-between some more rows of terraced houses were some garages – one of which housed the all important artwork.
On arrival and on closer inspection – the metal fence, the wooden frame and the protective perspex totally spoiled the anticipation of catching Banksy’s latest work up close.
The really bright sunshine was reflecting in the perspex and the overall experience was a bit disappointing really!
Initially the work only lasted a day or two before the garage owner, in conjunction with the local council, took the decision to protect the work.
There is currently 24 hour security for the site – including a vehicle with a security guard and also a small portakabin style unit housing a kitchen and a toilet!
The Banksy has been sold to an Essex based art collector but there were signs in the town that not everyone was happy with this and there’s been a campaign to help retain the artwork in the town.
Art collector, John Brandler, has agreed to display the work alongside some of the other Banksy’s he owns which would be set in a more protective environment for a few years once it is safely removed from the side of the garage.
So it was time to discover if Port Talbot had any other artistic talents in the town?
Directly opposite Banksy’s work was this colourful butterfly from local artist Rare.
A motorway underpass is usually a hot spot for graffiti and street art and Port Talbot was no exception with a splattering of work next to this small river. What a funky panda!
A further wander through the main street of Taibach revealed this work by Ame72 on the side of a garage.
I have never so far experienced street art with protective layers…ever…until now and I can appreciate why the Banksy has it but this work now also has it!
I hope street art hasn’t totally sold out with more and more pieces getting protected as once again the protection here really spoiled it.
Moving further along in Taibach towards Port Talbot centre and the usual back-street tags and throwups were present along with the derelict Plaza building attracting some attention too.
Moving beyond the High Street and the ultra modern train station was some street art of the highest callibre.
Located near another underpass and a tattoo parlour was lots of art by local artist Rare. On the side of his tattoo parlour he had painted his family whilst on the nearby garage someone is depicted in hues of purple.
Featured in the lane is a striking tiger on one wall whilst a Spongebob Square Pants leaps off the other – complete with tags from Sank and Bims.
The concrete pillars offer a great canvas for these small dog pieces and some other tags too.
Rare has also taken to the wall opposite the parlour and painted these proud pussies in bright purple – very cleopatra.
Whilst beyond the church this purple piece commands your attention with the pussies peering through the graveyard.
Throughout the town there were stickers and tags from local artists like Oner, Gutsi, Bims and Roger!
It was quite disappointing to see the protection on the Banksy and other pieces but this was totally rescued by catching the really stunning work from Rare dotted around the town.
Just a short trip away is Aberavon with it’s long stretch of golden sands and concrete promenade.
Here the street art bug is now making waves beyond Port Talbot with a great stencil on some steps leading down to the beach.
And just like every other town and city there’s always one bit of graffiti that resonates!