Gentrification Implications of Sidewalk Stencils

hipsterstencil, originally uploaded by MissionMission.

Hmm. We might append this thing thusly: “Hipster Tee: $71 / Hipster Jeans: $199 / Hipster “Street Art” Stenciling Materials: $44 / Gentrification: Priceless.” Note that this was photographed in the Lower Haight, a neighborhood we love almost as much as the other one.

The other day, we were reading Banksy‘s book Cut It Out (purchased at Needles + Pens, of course), and we came across this classic passage, an e-mail Banksy received from a fan named Daniel:

  • “I don’t know who you are or how many of you there are but i am writing to ask you to stop painting your things where we live. In particular XXXXXX road in Hackney. My brother and me were born here and have lived here all our lives but these days so many yuppies and students are moving here neither of us can afford to buy a house where we grew up anymore. Your graffities are undoubtedly part of what makes these wankers think our area is cool. You’re obviously not from round here and after you’ve driven up the house prices youll probably just move on. Do us all a favour and go do your stuff somewhere else like Brixton.”

Daniel totally makes our point. Who is this stencil writer so critical of “gentrification” anyway? Do they really think they themselves are not a HUGE part of the process? Would it even be tangible without the participation of “street artists” like them? Who do they think they’re fooling?

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