Mo' Banksy, Mo' Problems

 So I’m risking a bit with my first post for this blog being both about the the totally-not-cool, touristy subject of Alcatraz and the thoroughly covered, over-analyzed subject of Banksy in SF, but fuck it. It’s just the Internet.

Today, my lady friend and I went to Alcatraz on a lark. It ruled, especially the part where you’re in “The Hole,” and the dude is talking about tossing a button around to save his sanity. I love that shit. Anyway, we got to the part where we could go chill in the rec yard. We traipsed about, and climbed the huge bench-stairs, and at the top we found this:

OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!! Why the fuck WOULDN’T Banksy hit up one of the most well-known historical monuments our city can offer? Really, I’m not into graffiti, at all, but this rules. And don’t try to tell me a stencil of a rat trying to dig its way out of Alcatraz ISN’T the work of Banksy. Here’s a close up for the skeptics:

Hopefully, the powers that be won’t see this and remove it. I’m kinda stoked now. This is like when you were a kid, and you would check every Tootsie Pop wrapper for the Indian shooting the star. But this time there’s no rumor of free candy, and no kids lying about that one time the guy at the store totally gave them a free sucker. Maybe now we should go check under the Golden Gate Bridge and in Janis Joplin’s house’s bathroom, or something. Anyway, hopefully I can keep posting after this.

Comments (20)

Wow. Nice find. I think this is bigger than the Tootsie Pop shooting star. I think you might be on Golden Ticket status. Guess Otter Pops will be on a ferry to Alcatraz tomorrow.

Blek le Rat whom Banksy cites as an inspiration has also been in town and these are just as likely a product of him. Either way, they’re both laughing at all of this…

Can’t hate on that. View on brotha.

Everyone enjoys spending time in the hole.

Yay, Patrice! Welcome to UA.


Very cool. Nice job finding it. Did you get any more pics ? Just wondering what the pattern is on the hat.

They are arrows that were used on old prison uniforms.

I just returned from there; I posted a few photos that I took there on Flickr.

This piece has been up for over a week. NPS law enforcement is investigating and trying to figure out how to get rid of it (It is a felony to tag federal property, so it’s a good thing there’s no way to trace this to any individual). I looked at it today and saw they had chipped away at the wall on part of the painting. We’ll see how long it lasts. Good eye Patric.

Hi all-
I’m the National Park Service Site Supervisor of Alcatraz Island.

And sorry folks, we have removed this graffiti.

While I’m not here to argue about whether or not this is artwork, I will say that we have a high standard on Alcatraz and in the National Park Service.

We are protecting this site for future generations. We like to keep things historic out here. We do a good job of telling all the stories that we find. I’m glad that we’re iconic and I’m glad that you are excited to come and check us out, but please don’t permanently change us while you’re out here!

We have lots of historic graffiti from the Indian Occupation that we protect and talk about. Come see that!

And we have had art displays and shows that different graffiti artists have participated in. Just not on our actual historic walls.

Come and check us out! But don’t mark us while you’re here!
Instead, help us protect your National Parks and tell all our great stories.

Thanks for all the interest! Come out and see us!
Our NPS Concessionaire ferry boat and the official site for Alcatraz tickets:

Amy Brees
Alcatraz Island Site Supervisor
National Park Service

By selectively muting out the parts of history you don’t like, you’ve effectively turned Alcatraz into Disneyland.

Removing history to preserve your version of “history.” Pathetic.

this stinks - just bought my non refundable tickets what am i gonna do with them now - hope I can sell them somehow

for crying out loud its a run down old prison only in america that can become a landmark

isn’t there graffiti from the Native American occupation on it anyway

well i will spread the word and make sure that none of my friends does the trip for nothing

wait a minute … you bought tickets to alcatraz JUST to see a tiny graffiti piece by a marketing savvy artist, an image of which has already appeared on the internet? okay dude.

as you should know size doesn’t matter :) - so according to you millions of people that go and see the Mona Lisa could just have checked it on the internet - those fools you should have told them before - I do go out of my way to see all kinds of art - to some people art is important to others it is not as much

Oh snap! - Touché - Talking about marketing savvy - you seem to milk the Banksy topic on the 2xMission blog. :)

bansky gave us a million-dollar contract to keep it coming. we can’t disappoint him!

“I will say that we have a high standard on Alcatraz and in the National Park Service”

sure can’t find that standard towards clean up in the parks around me

Oh Yeah; I beat it by 24!