• Rich Banks

Weirdest things that have happened to me while working in public

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

As part of what I do I sometimes work in public, whether that is painting a mural, working at art events or just drawing in a pub, things can often get very strange. Sometimes its funny, other times its annoying and sometimes you are left wondering what the fuck, that baby wasn’t real?! More on that later. I thought I would list some for you in ascending order of weirdness.


5. Two gentlemen who I think today would only be described as gammons tried to perform a citizen's arrest on me for doing my job. I was painting the back door at the studio I managed in York and these guys walked past and took offence. They called the police and spent ten minutes hurling abuse at me for painting on a building in “their’ city. When I tried to walk away they tried to pin me to the floor, luckily the police turned up and laughed them away. Daft thing was I was painting it back black because the night before me and a friend got drunk and spray painted a load crude cocks on it.


4. I was called a Nazi by a student from the University of Leeds. I was working on my Battlefield 5 illustration in a pub in Leeds for a bit of a change of scene when a woman noticed what I was doing and asked if she could have a look. When she saw I was drawing a german soldier she started asking me if I was a white supremacist and then loudly called me a Nazi and stormed out of the pub, which was nice. I'm not a Nazi.


3. Two Mormons tried to save my soul while I was painting a mural in a pub in Sheffield. They spent 45 minutes trying to convert me to Mormonism before the barman asked them to leave. I guess Mormons don’t like people drawing a plates of Sunday dinner on a wall.


2. I took part in a 24hr draw in York with 2 friends. About 6 years ago myself and two friends decided to draw for 24 hours straight as part of an exhibition in York. Powered mainly by gin, bacon and sleep deprivation we actually managed to produce a 20ft x 6ft mural. Which was then ruined by some idiot who came in at the last minute and covered it in yellow watercolour. Words were spoken, we don’t talk to him anymore. There have been mentions of a 72 hour draw, if you see me seriously considering that please, you have my blessing, punch some sense into me.


1. I don’t even know how to describe this really and I don’t want to come across as rude. But it is reality and to this day this it is probably the most surreal moment of my life. With the same friends I worked on the 24 hour draw with, I helped produce a collaborative doodle, over two days, in Bridlington. About halfway through the first day a woman came in holding a baby, and started speaking to my mates missus and kids. He went over to talk to her, then came back over and said “you see that baby over there? It's not real!” And sure enough, when the woman came over to us, he was right. This lady spent the best part of 2 days telling the 100 plus people who were working the event, individually, how painful the birth was and how she isn’t sleeping. There wasn’t a single person who was working that event who wasn’t concerned, shocked or bewildered by what was going on.

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