Published: August 19, 2011
by JOSIE HINTON
THE graffiti crew surrounding a legendary artist who rose to iconic status when he took on Banksy in a high-profile feud on the Regent’s Canal towpath is holding a fundraising event in his honour.
King Robbo, who lives in Holloway, described as “blue-blooded royalty” of the London graffiti scene, has long been revered in underground circles.
He came to the public’s attention when he appeared out of retirement to embark on a high-profile war of paint with Bristol-born stenciller Banksy.
But just as Robbo intended to get his final revenge, tragedy struck. He was found close to his home suffering from a life-threatening head injury and was put into an induced coma.
Now, with his condition failing to improve, friends from his old crew, We Rock Hard, are organising a major fundraising event to draw attention to his plight and help secure his family’s future.
Graffiti artists, including Eine and pioneering stenciller Blek Le Rat, have donated works to be auctioned at the King Robbo Fundraiser and Art Auction, which will be held next month.
DJs, including Artful Dodger, will give up their time to perform.
Close friend and crew member PIC said: “When it happened it was like time just stood still. It was like we were all expecting him to come out of it and sort things out himself, and then I snapped out of it and thought ‘we’ve got to do something about this now’.
“All his old crew members are pulling in together and calling on friends and colleagues for help.
“We’ve got people donating original canvases and art works. We’ve got a lot of DJs giving up their time.”
He added: “Robbo has a 17-month-old daughter and we’re hoping to raise funds for whatever needs to be done for him and his family, whether that’s long-term care or other specialist equipment. It looks imminent that he’s going to need that.”
The feud began when Banksy painted over a Robbo mural which had lain untouched in Camden Town since 1985 – even escaping being whitewashed by waterway clean-up teams.
In March, just a week before he suffered the head injuries, Robbo said the disagreement dated back to a historic meeting when Banksy slighted his fellow artist.
“The next thing I knew was he had painted over my piece,” Robbo said. “From that, it spread. There are plenty of walls we could both use.
“There was no need to do this.”
A Channel 4 documentary, aired on Sunday, followed Robbo as he cruised down the canal in a canoe owned by The Pirate Castle youth club in Oval Road to deface one of Banksy’s works in the dead of night.
The feud has brought Robbo to the attention of the art establishment. Two of his pieces are on show at the Pure Evil Gallery in Shoreditch.
• The King Robbo Fundraiser and Art Auction will take place on Sunday, September 4, between 1pm and midnight at Cargo in Rivington Street, Shoreditch. Children of all ages welcome until 7pm.