Who is Bambi?
Is it singer M.I.A? (left) - or is it somebody who is a complete mystery?
or could it be Paloma Faith or Geri Halliwell?
Bambi’s Amy Winehouse mural in Camden Road
Published: 2 May, 2013
by PETER GRUNER
WHEN she’s not secretly daubing paint around the streets of the borough, graffiti artist Bambi – responsible for Camden Road’s Amy Winehouse mural – is apparently a world-famous singing star. In fact, those who know her closest say many of us will have one of her records at home.
Question: how does she find time to do both?
It is all part of a new mystery this week surrounding the artist, described as a “female Banksy”, not the kind of moniker which is going to do her bank balance any harm with the value of her work now expected to double or quadruple in price.
So which famous international singing star is she?
Amateur sleuths have been setting the internet alive with a guessing game this week after The Sun newspaper spoke to one of her confidants.
On Tuesday, the tabloid suggested a number of candidates, ranging from Victoria Beckham to Geri Halliwell.
Somehow the idea that these two ex-Spice girls would get up at the crack of dawn to go out and illegally draw pictures on street corners does not ring true.
It has been suggested before that the artist’s singing days were with a band which does not produce as many albums as it once did.
Bambi, whose Amy Winehouse mural opposite Sainsbury’s in Camden Town is shrouded in Perspex for safekeeping, is a concerned artist often verging on the political. Her “Hero to Zero” image at Primrose Hill is of an aggressive-looking male holding an equally nasty looking dog on a lead.
The image is said to represent an ex-British soldier who fought bravely in Afghanistan but has become mentally unbalanced since returning home.
Another piece which appeared on the borough’s walls had former Primrose Hill shopkeeper June Beachey, who for 52 years ran Welsh’s hardware store, carrying a cup of tea and appealing for peace.
Bambi handed a print to the New Journal, which we in turn made sure was hung in Primrose Hill Community Association’s building.
She’s not afraid to cause upset, however. In Fitzrovia recently, she left a mural in Clipstone Street of the retiring pope giving a two-fingered insult, next to the label “Rude pope”.
Two more likely candidates referred to in The Sun – and by the guessers on Twitter – are M.I.A and Paloma Faith. Like Bambi, both singers graduated from Central St Martins school of art at King’s Cross and would be of a similar age.
Bambi’s manager Lenny Villa, who owns an art framing business in Caledonian Road, Barnsbury, confirmed that she is a “superstar” and many of us will have her records. But he refused to reveal her identity. “All I can say is that she has had to go into hiding because of all the fuss,” he said.
Bambi gave her first ever interview over the phone to our sister paper, the Islington Tribune, last year.
She said she was in her 30s and was arrested once by police in that borough while about to paint on a wall. She was thrown into a cell for a few hours and was later released with a caution.
She said she was born in Liverpool Road at Angel and brought up in Hoxton, and now lives in a flat in “central Islington”.
She added: “I let my work speak for itself. But dreams can inspire me and I am particularly interested in people who spread love and joy like Amy [Winehouse].
“I like to entertain and amuse people with my art. I know what I do is illegal.
"It’s criminal damage, and I can get very nervous when I’m out working, often in the early hours. The trouble is I have never been able to resist a blank wall.”
Geri Halliwell photo: Flavia Colonnese