in News | 19 JUL 18

Street Artist, Whose Work David Cameron Gifted to Barack Obama, Convicted of Assault

Ben Eine (real name Benjamin Flynn) – a favourite of Samantha Cameron – punched his girlfriend in the face at London’s Serpentine Gallery

in News | 19 JUL 18

Ben Eine in front of his work ‘Its Here The Circus’ at Brick Lane Yard, Old Truman Brewery, London, 2017. Courtesy: PA Archive, PA Images; photograph: Yui Mok

Renowned street artist Ben Eine (real name: Benjamin Flynn) has been convicted of assault, following an incident at London’s Serpentine Gallery last month. Westminster Magistrate’s Court confirmed to frieze that a community order and restraining order had been issued.

frieze originally reported last month that Eine had been charged on 7 June with assault, after an incident at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery the previous evening, when the gallery was holding a private view for its Tomma Abts exhibition.

Eine pleaded guilty to assault by beating and criminal damage at his trial on 10 July. The court heard how Eine attacked his girlfriend Maria Claudine during a row at the gallery. The couple began to argue after Claudine saw a photo of another woman on Eine’s phone. Claudine said he punched her ‘in the mouth with a clenched fist, with some force […] I was bleeding from the mouth.’ Eine’s lawyer Robin Coleman said that Claudine ‘lost her temper and argued with him, and he lost his temper.’

Sentencing was adjourned to 17 July. A community order was then issued consisting of unpaid work. A restraining order has also been put in place until further order, and a victim surcharge of GBP£85 and costs to the prosecution of GBP£85 were issued.

Eine has achieved significant popular and commercial recognition as a street artist, with his signature brightly-painted letters of the alphabet appearing across East London. According to reports he is a close friend of secretive street artist Banksy, and one of Samantha Cameron’s favourite artists.

In 2010, Samantha Cameron ended up selecting a work by Eine, called ‘Twenty-first Century City’, for her husband – the then UK prime minister David Cameron – to gift to US presidential couple Barack and Michele Obama during a state visit to the White House. In turn, Eine became such a fan of the prime minister that he tattooed ‘Vote Conservative’ on his leg (after criticism he changed it to ‘Don’t Vote Conservative’), a 2016 profile in The Times revealed.

Prior to being charged, Flynn had recently unveiled a mural in London, painting the words ‘Peace is Possible’ on the exterior of Shoreditch House, as a comment on knife crime in the city.