Monday, 23 December 2013

'Passion Slave' Painter Pays Price!

Trail Blazing Northern Banksy meets Bury Magistrates
WALTER Kershaw, the Rochdale artist who was first to start the art of 'Banksy style' street graffiti in the 1960s, clearly doesn't know when to stop; because he told Bury magistates' court this month that he was so 'smitten' by a former lover that he couldn't give her up, and that he believed in the English adage 'never give up on love'.   He recently said on a Radio Four that he didn't have the 'wit' of the Banksy, and the modern street artists with their minimalist endeavours.  Indeed not, Walter had a taste for the grand canvass:  big romantic renderings on house-ends, mill walls and brick shit-houses were more Mr. Kershaw's style.  His inspiration seems to have been the Italian muralists of southern Europe, where he once romantically rode a bike over the alps to Florence to go to his sister's wedding.
But you've got to take account of where you live, and Rochdale is not Florence or Verona or even Benedorm.  People up here don't take kindly to folk, especially men, who show their passionate side - being 'smitten' in a place like Rochdale is almost a sin.  'Don't be being daft!', they would say up here in a kind of Grace Field's accent.
Walter can't complain, he has had repeated warnings from the police, but still he would loiter about outside their local church, or trail them round the supermarket.  He had had a relationship with the lass Catherine Mitchell for almost two years, but this had ended after a serious accident some years ago which left Catherine with brain and leg injuries.  They had first met when Walter painted her, at her request, in 2007.
In court Mr. Kershaw admitted to bombarding Catherine with unwanted attention, gifts and phone calls.  He was given a restraining order to stop him from making any contact with Catherine or her mother or going to their addresses.  Furthermore, he must not display any art, portraits, drawings or photos of them in public.
He was given a community order and must pay Catherine and her mum £250 each in compensation as well as £85 costs.
Shakespeare had a character say in one of his plays:  'Be not passion slave'.  Seventy-three-year-old Walter, who is still hard at work outdoors painting murals, and once illustrated a front cover of an issue of Northern Voices (see picture), said:  'I would like to thank those who have inundated me with messages and calls of support.'

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