Published: 23 March, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
SECRETIVE Islington-based graffiti artist Bambi – whose work is being compared with that of the man who inspired her, Banksy – spoke exclusively to the Tribune this week.
The artist, who is in her 30s, revealed how she was arrested once by police in the borough while about to paint on a wall and was thrown into a cell for a few hours. She was later released with a caution.
Now she’s planning a new work to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee – a portrait of the monarch as a girl. The painting, a copy of which she’s provided for the Tribune, will shortly go up on a wall, naturally enough, in Windsor Street, off Essex Road.
“I thought of putting it up at Buckingham Palace, but I’m likely to get arrested and maybe shot by the guards,” Bambi said.
Born in Liverpool Road at Angel and brought up in Hoxton, she trained at St Martins art college and now lives in a flat in “central Islington”.
Bambi has been leaving quirky graffiti images on walls around Islington and Camden for six years. She is best known for her full-length study of Amy Whitehouse opposite Sainsbury’s in Camden Town, which has been protected by a plastic screen.
Bambi celebrated the royal wedding last year with a mural of Prince William and Kate Middleton, bearing the legend “a bit like Marmite”, at the corner of Offord Road and Liverpool Road, Barnsbury.
The artist, who was interviewed by telephone, said: “I let my work speak for itself. But dreams can inspire me and I am particularly interested in people who spread love and joy like Amy.
“I like to entertain and amuse people with my art. I know what I do is illegal. It’s criminal damage, and I can get very nervous when I’m out working, often in the early hours. The trouble is I have never been able to resist a blank wall.”
Another new work, entitled You Lift My Spirit, is destined for a wall in Islington. It shows a muscleman lifting a beautiful woman.
Bambi’s long-term plans include a street painting of Hilda Murrell, the Shrewsbury gardener and anti-nuclear campaigner who was murdered in 1984.
Art framer Lenny Villa, who has a shop in Caledonian Road, Barnsbury, has met Bambi. “We frame a lot of her work and she is now a collector’s artist,” he said. “Obviously, she’s no Banksy but her drawings can sell at auction at a starting price of £500.”
Mr Villa’s shop, formerly in Camden Town, has framed for Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon in the more than 30 years it has been in business.