Created in 2010 the Banksy mural in St Leonards was painted onto the back of a concrete set of stairs leading down to the beach. It shows a small child in sunglasses building sandcastles each of which has the word ‘Tesco’ written on it.
Banksy and Ben Eine in St Leonards
By all accounts the artist was in the town for the 40th birthday of his friend Ben Eine. The two did at one point spend a lot of time together. Indeed Eine himself recently told our ‘Art Related Noise‘ podcast a little about what they would get up to whilst on their travels together. At one point he also had his studio in the area.
Eine had been creating a large portrait of Prince Charles at the same time the Banksy piece went up. A very different kind of work for him, the image of the younger prince was on the corner of Norman Road and pixellated. The work was a far cry from the typeface work he’s become known for nowadays. If your a fan of Eine’s shutter letters then you can still spot a number of those around the town.
Tesco Sandcastles by Banksy
But back to the piece by Banksy and its meaning. A number of inferences could be made. Most notably the whole Tescos being sandcastles with no firm foundations type of analogy. Who knows, the truth is it could have been just a bit of fun. Though in saying that, Banksy does have form with his penchant for poking fun at the supermarket giant. In 2008 his ‘Tesco Kids‘ mural on Essex Road in North London showed a group of kids hoisting a Tesco plastic bag up a flagpole. Standing with their hands to their hearts they looked up as if pledging allegiance to it.
In 2005 he created his Tesco value ‘Soup Can’ as a print in a ironic imagining of the famous Andy Warhol image. Then in 2011 he created the famous tesco value petrol bomb as a “commemorative souvenir poster“. This followed the riots in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol that year. It would seem that for whatever reason Banksy has, or at least had, a bit of a fixation on the supermarket.
BBC News Report – Banksy Mural
The Banksy mural in St Leonards can be found next to the Marina car park on the back of some concrete steps leading to the beach. It is approximately opposite St Leonards parish church on Undercliff. The mural was visited on Saturday 17 August 2019. You can read more about street art in the Hastings and St Leonards area here and more about Banksy here. Those interested in the painted house by Dotmasters which is nearby can read about that here.