This post was first published by My London on 1/10/2019.
How Banksy’s new shop could help Croydon become a tourist destination
Banksy may well have deliberately chosen Croydon as the home of his latest project due to its reputation as Britain’s home of street art
Some consider him the man most responsible for Croydon’s ever-growing reputation as Britain’s home of street art.
Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, the owner of the RISE art gallery, has played a huge role in encouraging some of the world’s best street artists to visit the town.
And now the town’s secured the biggest coup of all.
Overnight an entire shop crammed full of exhibits by the reclusive genius Banksy appeared in Church Street, in the town centre.
When we spoke to him, Banksy hadn’t yet confirmed he was the owner of the new shop.
But Mr Zuchowski-Morrison was in no doubt that it bore all his hallmarks.
He said: “The skill is Banksy’s, it’s consistent with his type of work, the meaning behind it is.
“He did have art in Croydon a few years ago and it’s wonderful to see him back. Banksy has been very much missed.
“I think it’s spectacular, I couldn’t be more pleased.”
It is no ordinary shop – as the doors will never open.
Shoppers instead will be able to look through the windows at the pieces for sale and then buy them online.
And Mr Zuchowski-Morrison’s hopes the mini-exhibition will provide a welcome tourism boost for Croydon and bring even more focus on its booming street art scene.
He said: “It’s a very big thing [for Croydon to be chosen as the venue for the shop]. Banksy is obviously one of the pioneers, he’s made this art form what it is today and it’s great to see him return.
“It’s putting us on the map culturally, this is such a big thing and will help to be a positive change for the area.
“There is a massive interest in Croydon from the art scene and it will probably help that, but it’s all about opportunities and we should be all very thankful for this.”
The RISE gallery has been a huge success, and it has a number of big things coming up over the next year all over Croydon.
The gallery owner said: “We have probably done around 700 murals in Croydon.
“Some of it is well received, sometimes we get ones that people don’t like, but we don’t always have to like art, it’s about emotions.
“It is very, very rare that we come across people who don’t like any of it. People in their 80s participate in it, so it’s a wide range of people who enjoy it – different backgrounds and ages, not just one demographic.”
Kevin added that he hopes the shop will improve Croydon’s reputation – so he wants everyone to cherish it while it is here.
He said: “I think hopefully Croydon will do its best to look after the work. When you have a gift like this it is important to look after it, it’s hugely important.”