KATE MOSS AND RIHANNA have commissioned her to do portraits of them, Brad Pitt shelled out £60,000 for a picture of Kate and Wills for Angelina, and Adele asked for an Amy Winehouse-inspired piece. Now, as she unveils her portrait of David Beckham (below) at London’s Walton Fine Arts Gallery and in an exclusive UK interview with Grazia, the notoriously elusive London based graffiti artist dubbed ‘the female Banksy’ reveals her secret past and what inspires her.
The graffitist currently known as Bambi (‘My dad used to call me Bambino’ – can we assume an Italian heritage?) studied at Central Saint Martins, whose previous alumni include Lucian Freud, Alexander McQueen, Jarvis Cocker, Stella McCartney, and Gilbert and George, before embarking on a surprising, pre-art career. ‘I went into the music business
as a singer,’ she tells us. ‘The band became a huge success, but my passion has always been painting, so I decided to return to it.’ Although she wouldn’t reveal which band, it’s easy to see why the style of her work – iconic Britons portrayed in bold graffiti style on walls, canvas and metals – has been embraced by many celebrities. From a post-
Jubilee spray-paint tribute piece of the Queen at her coronation (called Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend) to Kate and Wills arm-in-arm (A Bit Like Marmite, left, on Liverpool Road in Islington, London), there’s a definite populist, commercial bent to her work.
Her inspiration is rather elusive, however. She tells us rather mysteriously, ‘[The images] come to me when I’m dreaming.’ Rather than reference other female graffiti artists such as Miss Van and Mishfit, her artistic inspirations encompass ‘Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon’, suggesting a meeting of pop-trash culture and Albionic classicism. ‘Art is the pulse of life,’ she adds. Despite being feted by a coterie of cool stars, in an ideal world Bambi says she’d have loved ‘Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix’ to have collected her work, which sells for between £30,000 and £100,000.
It’s unlikely, though, that she’ll indulge in a turf war with the notoriously competitive Banksy (who’s been involved in a ‘wall war’ with fellow street artist King Robbo). When asked how she felt about the legendary spray painter, she quipped, ‘Who’s he?’ Clearly, the future’s all hers.
Walton Fine Arts is Bambi’s agent for all original art (waltonfinearts.com).