Flintshire's answer to 'Banksy' is back

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

THE Flintshire Banksy is back.

After a quiet spell the elusive artist has once again been leaving his mark across the county.

And the mystery figure, who signs his work Random, has developed his style – injecting a blast of colour into his distinctive black and white portraits.

Dog walker Jason Tebble, from Brook Road in Shotton, spotted two of the unique designs when he was out walking his dogs.

The first, dubbed ‘The Merchant Seaman’, has been printed on a green buoy in the car park and boat loading area in Dock Road.

The second image, ‘The Steelworker’, is on an old metal box on the River Dee cycle path – directly opposite the old Corus building.

Mr Tebble, 39, said: “I have been following his work for ages, ever since I saw the old miner at the power station roundabout.

“I then started following him in the Leader because I’m fascinated by it.

“I hadn’t seen anything for ages and I was only wondering the other week what’s happened to him, or her, and then I saw these two.”

The occupational hygiene technician for Airbus likes his colourful new style.

“I did like the old ones as well, but these are great,” he said.

“They are more colourful and a lot more detailed.

“I love how he has really managed to capture the steelworker. It actually looks exactly like what I would imagine a steelworker to look like.”

Random’s work first started appearing across the Deeside area last summer.

His masterpieces include a black and white portrait of an old miner that appeared on the old B&Q building in Queensferry and soon after an image of Father Christmas appeared alongside it.

Opinion is divided as to whether the pictures are in fact graffiti, but Mr Tebble is not of that opinion.

He said: “It is definitely not graffiti.

“They really brighten up and enhance the area and are not unsightly at all.

“I love the fact every time you go out there’s always the chance you might spot one.

“I have always liked the real Banksy so I think it’s great that there’s now a Flintshire Banksy.”

The artist’s identity remains shrouded in mystery.

Earlier this year a collection of his work went on display at Bluecoat Books in Chester, but even gallery staff had no clue who he was.

Art experts from Deeside College have been examining his latest offerings.

Lecturer Richard Dunn said: “The technique he uses to create these images is via a series of stencils and spray paint, giving a photocopied nature to the artwork.

“The use of intricate stencils helps to minimise time – thus not getting caught – and allows over-spraying of different colours.

“He creates intricate and subtle portraits of ordinary people in ordinary places. “The recent works seem to rely on visual imagery based on traditional iconography to put forward a political or social theme relevant to the area.

“Local landmarks become a canvas or gallery allowing everyone access to his work.”

He added: “Is the artist trying to communicate directly with his viewers using a piece of graffiti, making it edgy and counter-cultural, or witty and technically skilled?

“The Banksy of Flintshire reignites the question of whether it is street culture or vandalism pure and simple.”

- Unwanted graffiti or admirable art? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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