AN ANONYMOUS graffitist who has earned comparisons to Banksy has received a nomination for one of the most coveted awards in the world of modern art.
The reclusive artist, known as Vapist (often stylised as V/=\PI57) – after his predilection for inhaling cherry-flavoured e-liquids instead of smoking proper grown-up fags – has been making waves in the burgeoning Cumbrian street-art scene over the past twelve months.
Vapist’s work “Squeaky is a Grass” was shortlisted for the Turner Prize by an independent panel of art critics at an exclusive champagne reception last week.
Describing the piece, which is situated on the back of the bandstand in Whitehaven’s Castle Park, Sebastian Fartnum-Whelk from the adjudication panel commented:
“It is a work which is truly magnificent in scope, igniting senses of existentialism deep within the soul, and like all great works of art it ultimately asks more questions than it answers.
“Who is Squeaky? Does Squeaky represent the noise of a consumerist, capitalist, mechanistic society drowning out our innate naturalistic cravings? Is the reference to grass an allusion to a desire to return to a simpler way of life?
Or is it a commentary on mortality; on how we all return to the soil, and the grass? In a manner, we are all Squeaky.”
Previous winners of the Turner Prize include Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and Laure Provost – all of whom went on to enjoy mainstream success alongside critical acclaim.
Shrouded in secrecy
However, the identity of the urban paint maestro remains a mystery – leading some in the art world to speculate that Vapist’s murals could in fact be the handiwork of one of West Cumbria’s most prolific rap acts.
An employee from the Department of Work & Pensions added fuel to the speculation after noticing a recurring coincidence.
Explaining her hypothesis, Job Centre box-ticker Linda Dogeggs explained: “The lad in question, he comes in to sign-on once a fortnight.
“After he’s cashed his Giro, a new artwork appears in close proximity to the Job Centre within hours.
“It could be a coincidence, but I’m convinced I’ve got to the bottom of the mystery.”
The Shitehaven Views attempted to reach out to both of Whitehaven’s premier rap acts in an attempt to confirm or deny the rumours -but at the time of going to press, neither was available for comment.
DO YOU know the identity of the mysterious graffiti artist? Let us know in the comments below.