This was a different kind of assignment for us. You see we really don’t know who he is. Typically here we tell you a little about about the artists start in art and where they might have attended school or if they had any mentors that influenced their work. Well, with Banksy we can’t do any of that. Here is what we do know. He is from Bristol, England. It’s estimated he began doing graffiti anywhere between 1990 and 1994. Ok that’s about it.
Banksy’s work consists of mostly stencils with anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-establishment messaging. He’s worked in a number of mediums including work on canvas, murals, readymades, sculpture, installations and film. His most famous work on film is the documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” A documentary started by Thierry Guetta, most commonly known as Mr. Brainwash, featuring street artists and particularly Banksy. Banksy took over the film as he realized MBW was inept at creating this film and as he states in the opening scene, he just thought Thierry was much more interesting than him. The documentary is statement against the art world.
Banksy’s work does have an element of activism. With murals touting social change and the blatant ridicule of the establishment figures, Banksy’ work has brought to light issues to an audience that might have not paid attention. He brought on himself much attention when he went to the Gaza strip and put a series of murals in protest of the wall and a police state in many neighborhoods. He stated “I don’t want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighbourhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future, we should probably address this for all our sakes.”
Banksy’s artwork has garnered much attention in the art world as prices for his work skyrocketed. Walls were removed from buildings to be sold at auction houses like Sotheby’s. Banksy has his share of critics, who dismiss his work as “glorified vandalism.” Love him or hate him, there is no question you can’t help but notice him, even if we don’t know who he is.
Who is Banksy? The answer still eludes us. We don’t know who is behind the murals filled with comedic quirk and social statements. Everyone has an opinion as to what Banksy’s contribution to the art world is. Is it really art or just some joke being played on us all. Well one thing we do know, is that Banksy himself sees the humor in it all. With his wit and self deprecating humor, there is no denying he’s turned the art world upside down. The man from Bristol has made his mark, and people have been quick to cash in. A frenzy filled with greed and zero regard for art, Banksy has turned the lense to our society and we can’t help but keeping our eye glued to see what happens next.