Artist dubbed “Burley Banksy” gutted after Leeds United street art is painted over

9 September 2019

Messages of support have flooded in for a West Leeds street artist after his Leeds United artwork around the streets of Burley was painted over, writes Keely Bannister.

Andy McVeigh’s artwork is painted onto green cabinets used to hold telecommunication wiring.

Most of the Leeds United themed street art painted in Burley and around Elland Road by Mr McVeigh, who signs his work #BurleyBanksy, has been painted over with black paint over the last couple of days  – the second time that Mr McVeigh’s says his work has been targeted.

But supporters have rallied around, with a Justgiving page today raising more than £1,200 in support of Burley Banksy.

Announcing the news on his Twitter account, the Burley Banksy described his emotions as “gutted” adding:

“Never had any negative comments about it, only v[ery] positive reactions so it’s mystifying. Takes hours to do each one.”

Fans of the artwork were quick to send messages of support.

The ironically named @ihatelufc Twitter account said:

“Everytime I see one I smile and just feel that little bit more proud of the city. Don’t lose heart.”

Leeds United supporter @HG1919 posted:

“Keep spreading the sunshine. You brighten up thousands of our lives with your artwork each and every time we see them. Something’s should be beyond rivalry and the person carrying out this mindless vandalism needs to seek help as they have some serious issue with their psyche.”

@elyouefsey added support with the message:

“Lowlifes who trek out in the darkness with a tin of paint and only bad intentions don’t tend to have any friends – I doubt anyone knows him and there’s an obvious reason for that. Please keep going with it, paint over it again and again until someone catches him in the act.”

A group calling themselves Leeds Residents Against Graffiti have claimed responsibility for the covering of the artwork.

In an e-mail to the Yorkshire Evening Post, which the paper published extracts of today along with full reaction from Mr McVeigh, the group claimed to be made up of four people and gave 11 reasons why they covered up the graffiti:

“We represent the 90% of the citizens of Leeds who are not obsessed with Leeds United, and do not need to see public areas painted with these mindless slogans.

“We will break no laws and commit no crime. Private property and properly commissioned artwork will NOT be covered up. We will only paint over illegal graffiti.”

While Andy is well known for his Leeds United inspired street art, he has done many creations including flowery boxes at the junction of Kirkstall Lane and Queenswood Drive, a Headingley Train Station wordsearch design with a partner he addressed as Helen which spelled out a message wishing people a “good day”.

He also teamed up with Vic Leeson to create paint a green cabinet themed around mental wellbeing inspired by children at Crossgates Primary School. 

What do you think? Does the street art found in Burley and Kirkstall brighten your day or is it illegal graffiti that should not be tolerated?  – let us know in the comments below.

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Techno says:

The article doesn’t make clear, but presumably he wasn’t commissioned by the box owners (presumably OpenReach) to do the graffiti so he has no right to complain.

Looking at the photo, it doesn’t have any artistic merit either.

V says:

These brighten things up around Burley, and I believe are done with appropriate permissions. They are a talking point. It’s very kind of him to take the time to bring a bit of interest and colour to the area.

ZF says:

I felt a great disturbance in the Pokestop, as if a thousand Pokemon Go players cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened…