Banksy-fied "Elephant" Tank Was Actually Somebody's Home
After street artist Banksy showed up and left several of his marks in Los Angeles last month, it didn't take long for his work to get taken down. Within days, or even hours, his words and images were taken down or boarded up or painted over. Out on Pacific Coast Highway, where Santa Monica transitions into the Palisades, a large tank that was Banksy-fied with the words "This Looks a Bit Like an Elephant," has not only been removed, but is up for sale. But that tank wasn't just a tank--it was someone's home.
Tachowa Covington aka Rollerball has lived inside the tank for about seven years. In fact, it’s probably a good guess, although I can’t say for sure, that Tachowa was still living in the tank when Banksy painted it, given that he shows up in the video that Banksyelephant.com (the folks trying to sell the tank) have posted on their homepage and says that he saw Banksy paint the tank.
The question is: Did Banksy know that the tank was home to Tachowa before he painted his message on it? Vandalog says "it seems possible that this piece was about homelessness (the elephant in the room) and that Banksy was aware that the tank was Tachowa’s home."
However, local street art blog Melrose + Fairfax point out that the tank has been the focus of contention, as Tachowa has tried to get possession of the title to the land while others were working to ensure the tank was removed, since some locals consider it a blight on the landscape. If other pieces of Banksy's led to immediate take-down, could he have targeted the tank because he, too, wanted to make sure it was taken down?
A video on the Bansky Elephant sale site shows Tachowa saying he was there when Banksy put the writing on the tank. The site explains their motives for removing and selling the piece:
"Due to announcements by the city of Los Angeles and circulating rumors to destroy and remove the water tower we have personally acquired ownership to preserve and protect the work of Banksy in hopes that it will end up exhibited in a respected museum where his work will live on without harm."
Image via Banksy's website