A STREET artist who stencilled an image on the outside wall of a Stafford town centre bank has opened up debate about the nature of graffiti and whether the piece is art or just a public nuisance.
The image, at Lloyds TSB in Lichfield Road, depicts an armed robber in an iconic striped jersey running away from the bank with a bag of swag and is tagged with the signature Gecko.
It prompted one Twitter user to suggest the artist was Stafford’s equivalent of infamous graffiti artist Banksy.
“Superb piece of street art on the side of a bank in Stafford,” said Peter Wood (@DonPedro1948). “Is Gecko Stafford’s answer to Banksy?”
Stafford Borough councillor for the Forebridge ward Tom Harris agreed that the artist was “clearly very talented”.
“Some will ask the question whether it’s art or graffiti? To my mind, with this piece of work, Gecko has certainly achieved the main aim of much of modern art - being talked about,” he said.
“This is a witty comment on public opinion about the evil done by ‘banksters’ - the disgraced gangster bankers who steal from honest taxpayers.”
Councillor Harris said he had recently visited a temporary art exhibition in the Guildhall put on by Stafford College Students where the standard of work was “excellent”.
“It reminded me of the complete absence of a permanent independent home for art in our town,” he said. “There is so much artistic talent in the Borough and so much empty retail space.
“I just wish an ambitious organisation seeking to promote art could be matched with a commercial landlord looking to donate some space for the furthering of culture in our county town.“
A spokesman for Lloyds TSB said: "Whilst we appreciate the artistic flair, graffiti is a criminal offence and it will have to be removed."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @StaffsNews and let us know what you think. Is Gecko’s work art or just a public nuisance? Go to staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk.