I only hope that one day I get the lack of recognition I deserve. We’ve become so used to seeing beautiful murals on buildings around South Florida that we forget, not too long ago, they were illegal and the artists who made them were called vandals. Thanks to the “Banksy Effect,” outsider art has been part of global culture for more than twenty years. There was a time when Banksy had to elude police in his hometown of Bristol. Today, […]
I only hope that one day I get the lack of recognition I deserve.
We’ve become so used to seeing beautiful murals on buildings around South Florida that we forget, not too long ago, they were illegal and the artists who made them were called vandals.
Thanks to the “Banksy Effect,” outsider art has been part of global culture for more than twenty years. There was a time when Banksy had to elude police in his hometown of Bristol. Today, Bristol invites street artists to paint its buildings. There are Banksy tours, and even a Google map of the locations of Banksy’s Bristol murals.
The Bristol Council, which had once ordered Banksy’s graffiti to be scrubbed away, bowed to public opinion, and voted to keep his mural, Naked Man, (painted on the side of a sex health clinic), intact.
Although street art is more mainstreamed now, the rituals and politics of the art is strictly maintained among street artists, many of whom often connect through their art.
In Choose Your Weapon, in our gallery as of this writing, Banksy gives a nod to Keith Haring, with the weapon of choice being a Haring dog.
The relationships among street artists are not always cordial. The 2011 film, Graffiti Wars, documents the rivalry between Banksy and London street artist, Robbo. The movie also looks at the history of street art and includes interviews with Blek le Rat and other notable street artists.
One of the most astonishing things about Banksy, is that he has been able to maintain his mystique while his works remain some of the most coveted pieces in the art world.
He doesn’t appear in the films made about him, but his presence is very apparent. HBO has released a documentary, Banksy Does New York, about the 31 days he spent in the city, as self-appointed “artist in residence.” He produced one piece of art a day, posting clues to their locations on social media, causing a scavenger-hunt frenzy among his fans.
Banksy’s art is touching, often funny and always beautifully rendered. New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, was not happy with Banksy, although he claimed, “Art is art and nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am.” “If you think my graffiti is overrated, you’d be right,” Banksy said, “I only hope that one day I get the lack of recognition I deserve.”
Banksy Choose Your Weapon (Light Orange), 2010 Screenprint 23.62h X 23.62w in. Edition of 25
Banksy Naked Man, 2006
Available at VFA: Banksy, Trolley Hunters, 2007 Screenprint, 22 X 30 in., Edition of 750
Street sculpture: British street artist Banksy’s October 22 addition to his New York residency was this foam and cement sphinx in Willets Point, Queens
Banksy was a guest at the posh Geejam Hotel in Jamaica before the hotel opened its doors in 2006. In typical Banksy fashion, he left his mark in and around the hotel, which is co-owned by his friend, British music executive Jon Baker.
Banksy has weighed in on the Syrian refugee crisis with a mural, as well as shelter, for refugees in Calais, France. His involvement began this past summer, when he took over an abandoned seaside resort in Weston-super-Mare, UK, and turned it into Dismaland.
Police in cities around the world still chase after graffiti artists for vandalizing property. Some of those artists are often commissioned, by the same authorities who considered them vandals, to paint public works in their cities.
“Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world,” Banksy wrote in his book, Wall and Piece, “I can’t even finish my second apple pie.” That pretty much reflects the work of Banksy: provocative, discomforting, funny and well-crafted.
Banksy is one of the most well-known artists in the world, yet most people don’t know who he is or what he looks like. What we know about Banksy is what he’s told us in his books, films, the few interviews he’s given and, of course, his art.