The Drinker is a statue by Banksy which was originally placed on Shaftsbury Square in London. It was stolen from the location in 2004 and then returned over 10 years later in 2015. The artist AK47 was responsible for it’s initial removal and it’s returned version contained a number of modifications.
A play on Rodin’s famous ‘The Thinker’. Banksy’s version which he named the drinker showed a man in a thinking like pose but with a cone on the top of his head. It was placed on a concrete plinth in a little square just next to Shaftesbury Avenue Theatre.
Feud with Banksy
Since it’s removal in 2004 the drinker has been in the not so safe keeping of AK47. An artist who it would seem had a little bit of feud with Banksy back in the day. This was apparently caused when Banksy failed to sign an unsigned print the AK47, also known as Andy Link, had bought.
This slight resulted in AK47 hijacking the Drinker and demanding a ransom that wasn’t paid. An illegal installation anyway, no-one laid claim to the statue once it was taken and so AK47 found himself the owner of more than just a print.
The Drinker by Banksy
In 2015 it was returned to the same spot albeit with a few slight alterations. Namely the additional of a toilet seat and a flush. The Drinker has also been renamed the stinker. One the concrete base where the Banksy logo and the title of the piece had been. AK47 added a ‘take the piss’ stencil and crossing out the ‘DR’ of drinker and wrote in the ‘ST’ of stinker.
The cool thing though is that despite the revamped version the drinker was of course still a genuine Banksy. It’s just one that had been away for a little while. Sadly the revamped Drinker statue is no longer there, removed some weeks after the statue had been returned.
The Drinker could be found on Shaftesbury Avenue in a little square next to the theatre. It was visited on Sunday 13 December 2015. For more Banksy related posts have a look at ‘10 Artists who have been compared to Banksy‘
A really good story this…… Very well flushed out!!! The last snap made me smile as to the left is a TO LET sign just begging someone to add the I (TOILET)
haha love it, sharp eyes there Mitch 😀
Brilliant story Stuart. What a scoop. I walk passed that square regularly, so must look out for it.
Hope it’s still there, wouldn’t be suprised if it found itself pilfered again
Thanks to you we know it was 🙂
Thank you for alerting me to this. I don’t often visit Soho, so I doubt I’d have known about it. I was in Soho on New Year’s Day and convinced others to have a walk by it as I was looking out for it and saw it across the road. It is still there, but the cistern has been stolen.
Thanks Jenn and well done for convincing the others to have a look, I bet they didn’t regret it 🙂 Not suprised the cistern’s gone I wonder how long the rest of it will last
In your photos there is an axe hanging from the cistern which was not put there by AK47 as far as I can tell from the online photos/videos of the installation I have seen. Now that too has gone, along with the cistern itself.
The evolution of art works!
There is an irony here too which maybe even AK 47 doesn’t know about. That square and the little road off it, Grape Street, are used as a public toilet after the pubs close. Residents have been asking Camden Council to install public toilets in the area, to no avail. Now there is one but it’s permanently engaged!