Arts, Venue

Mysterious artist, the Hat, dubbed ‘the new Banksy’

An elusive artist known as the Hat has been anonymously leaving artworks at locations across Suffolk with instructions to auction them off for charitable organisations.

Maisie McCarthy, owner of the Oyster Inn, explained that the paintings appeared outside her pub in Butley, Suffolk. She said, “We don’t know when it happened.” Maisie stated that she “spotted the hat in one of the pictures,” which led her to the artist’s website, www.whoisthehat.com.

Following the appearance of the paintings at the Oyster Inn, a phone box in Butley was anonymously adorned with topical artwork. Attached was a statement from the artist that read, “In these difficult times of need I hope you will be able to auction these off and raise funds for charities of your choice. I have donated several pieces to various local charities.”

The phone box had been covered by large painted Union Jacks, along with the silhouetted figures of an elderly couple, the corona virus represented in its recognisably “crown-like” form, and people observing the two-metre social distancing regulations.

The Hat’s work, although his identity remains undisclosed, is becoming increasingly recognisable, with its gestural Pollock-esque application of paint, which is not dissimilar to the style recently adopted by singer-turned-painter, Ed Sheeran. This comparability in style, in conjunction with the pop star’s Suffolk origin, have sparked rumours that Sheeran may be the Hat, despite the elusive artist’s website specifying his “tender age of 62”.

Regardless of the Hat’s true identity, his message is stated loud and clear on his website: “He knows now that there are many people with families, the children growing up in even worse surroundings and circumstances than himself and he wants to share his ultimate good fortune by donating some of his works to charitable organisations/individuals to do with as they wish. His intention being that some help may be provided that really makes a difference to people’s lives.”

The Hat’s fame is growing exponentially, having already raised hundreds of pounds for charity. The artist will soon be featured in an exhibition in Amsterdam and his work is attracting international attention, demonstrating just how much the world yearns for a little positivity and a splash of colour in these uncertain times.

04/08/2020

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Bea Prutton