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Banksy

Banksy

Overview
Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist
Street artist
A street artist is someone who creates and/or sells their art or craft in public for the pleasure of passers-by.Some people use the term 'street artist' more broadly and also refer to people involved in busking, such as musicians who sing and/or play instruments, acrobats, jugglers, living statues,...

, political activist, film director, and painter.

His satirical street art
Street art
Street art is any art developed in public spaces — that is, "in the streets" — though the term usually refers to unsanctioned art, as opposed to government sponsored initiatives...

 and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti
Graffiti
Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property....

 done in a distinctive stencil
Stencil
A stencil is a thin sheet of material, such as paper, plastic, or metal, with letters or a design cut from it, used to produce the letters or design on an underlying surface by applying pigment through the cut-out holes in the material. The key advantage of a stencil is that it can be reused to...

ling technique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.

Banksy's work was born out of the Bristol underground scene
Bristol underground scene
The Bristol underground scene is a term used to describe the culture surrounding trip hop, drum and bass, and graffiti art that has existed in Bristol from the early 1990s to the present....

 which involved collaborations between artists and musicians.
Discussion
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

Art is not like other culture because its success is not made by its audience. The public fill concert halls and cinemas every day, we read novels by the millions, and buy records by the billions. We the people, affect the making and quality of most of our culture, but not our art.

The Art we look at is made by only a select few. A small group create, promote, purchase, exhibit and decide the success of Art. Only a few hundred people in the world have any real say. When you go to an Art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires...

"Wall and Piece"

I'd been painting rats for three years before someone said "that's a clever anagram of art" and I had to pretend I'd known that all along.

"Wall and Piece"

People who enjoy waving flags don't deserve to have one.

"Wall and Piece"

Become good at cheating and you never need to become good at anything else.

"Wall and Piece" pg. 141

'I got home at last and crawled into bed next to my girlfriend. I told her I'd had an wiktionary:epiphany|epiphany that night [about using stencils] and she told me to stop taking that drug 'cos it's bad for your heart.'

"Wall and Piece"

T.V. has made going to the theatre seem pointless, photography has pretty much killed painting but graffiti has remained gloriously unspoilt by progress.

"Wall and Piece" pg. 153

People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish. But that's only if it's done properly.

You know what hip-hop has done with the word 'nigger' - I'm trying to do that with the word vandalism, bring it back.

The Holy Grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it.

Encyclopedia
Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist
Street artist
A street artist is someone who creates and/or sells their art or craft in public for the pleasure of passers-by.Some people use the term 'street artist' more broadly and also refer to people involved in busking, such as musicians who sing and/or play instruments, acrobats, jugglers, living statues,...

, political activist, film director, and painter.

His satirical street art
Street art
Street art is any art developed in public spaces — that is, "in the streets" — though the term usually refers to unsanctioned art, as opposed to government sponsored initiatives...

 and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti
Graffiti
Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property....

 done in a distinctive stencil
Stencil
A stencil is a thin sheet of material, such as paper, plastic, or metal, with letters or a design cut from it, used to produce the letters or design on an underlying surface by applying pigment through the cut-out holes in the material. The key advantage of a stencil is that it can be reused to...

ling technique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.

Banksy's work was born out of the Bristol underground scene
Bristol underground scene
The Bristol underground scene is a term used to describe the culture surrounding trip hop, drum and bass, and graffiti art that has existed in Bristol from the early 1990s to the present....

 which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. According to author and graphic designer Tristan Manco and the book Home Sweet Home, Banksy "was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England. The son of a photocopier technician, he trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s." Observers have noted that his style is similar to Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat, born Xavier Prou in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris in 1952, was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, and has been described as the “Father of Stencil Graffiti” .-Early career and Influence:...

, who began to work with stencils in 1981 in Paris and members of the anarcho-punk
Anarcho-punk
Anarcho-punk is punk rock that promotes anarchism. The term anarcho-punk is sometimes applied exclusively to bands that were part of the original anarcho-punk movement in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and early 1980s...

 band Crass
Crass
Crass are an English punk rock band that was formed in 1977, which promoted anarchism as a political ideology, way of living, and as a resistance movement. Crass popularised the seminal anarcho-punk movement of the punk subculture, and advocated direct action, animal rights, and environmentalism...

, which maintained a graffiti stencil campaign on the London Tube System in the late 1970s and early 1980s and is active today.

Known for his contempt for the government in labeling graffiti as vandalism, Banksy displays his art on public surfaces such as walls and even going as far as to build physical prop pieces. Banksy does not sell photos of street graffiti directly himself; however, art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder. Banksy's first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Guetta happily accepts the assignment, adopting the name "Mr. Brainwash", putting up street art in the city and six months later, re-mortgaging his business to afford renting copious equipment and a complete production team to create pieces of art under his supervision...

, billed as "the world's first street art disaster movie," made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new...

. The film was released in the UK on 5 March 2010. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film.

Early career (1992–2001)


Banksy began as a freehand graffiti artist 1990–1994 as one of Bristol's DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ), with Kato and Tes. He was inspired by local artists and his work was part of the larger Bristol underground scene
Bristol underground scene
The Bristol underground scene is a term used to describe the culture surrounding trip hop, drum and bass, and graffiti art that has existed in Bristol from the early 1990s to the present....

 with Nick Walker, Inkie
Inkie
Inkie is a London based painter and street artist, originally from Clifton, Bristol. He is cited as being part of Bristol's graffiti heritage, along with Banksy, 3D and Nick Walker.-Career:...

 and 3D. From the start he used stencils as elements of his freehand pieces, too. By 2000 he had turned to the art of stencilling after realizing how much less time it took to complete a piece. He claims he changed to stencilling whilst he was hiding from the police under a rubbish lorry, when he noticed the stencilled serial number and by employing this technique, he soon became more widely noticed for his art around Bristol and London.

Banksy's stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects often include rats, apes, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly.

In July 2011 one of Banksy's early works Gorilla In A Pink Mask which had been a prominent landmark on the exterior wall of a former social club in Eastville
Eastville, Bristol
Eastville is the name of both a council ward in the city of Bristol in the United Kingdom and a suburb of the city that lies within that ward. The Eastville ward covers the areas of Eastville, Crofts End , Stapleton and part of Fishponds...

 for over ten years, was unknowingly painted over after the premises became a Muslim cultural centre.

Exhibitions (2002–03)


On 19 June 2002, Banksy's first Los Angeles exhibition debuted at 33 1/3 Gallery, a tiny Silver Lake venue owned by Frank Sosa. The exhibition, entitled Existencilism, was curated by 33 1/3 Gallery, Malathion LA's Chris Vargas, Funk Lazy Promotions' Grace Jehan, and B+.

In 2003, at an exhibition called Turf War, held in a warehouse, Banksy painted on animals. Although the RSPCA declared the conditions suitable, an animal rights activist chained herself to the railings in protest. He later moved on to producing subverted
Subversion (politics)
Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order, its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy; examples of such structures include the State. In this context, a "subversive" is sometimes called a "traitor" with respect to the government in-power. A subversive is...

 paintings; one example is Monet's Water Lily Pond, adapted to include urban detritus such as litter and a shopping trolley
Shopping Trolley
"Shopping Trolley" was a 2006 single by English songwriter Beth Orton. It was released as a 2 CD single set and 12 inch vinyl , and an early version of the title song can be purchased from iTunes.-CD: EMI / CDEMS 694 United Kingdom :# "Shopping Trolley"...

 floating in its reflective waters; another is Edward Hopper
Edward Hopper
Edward Hopper was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. While most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching...

's Nighthawks
Nighthawks
Nighthawks is a 1942 painting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. It is considered Hopper's most famous painting, as well as one of the most recognizable in American art...

, redrawn to show that the characters are looking at a British football hooligan, dressed only in his Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 underpants, who has just thrown an object through the glass window of the cafe. These oil paintings were shown at a twelve-day exhibition in Westbourne Grove, London in 2005.
Banksy, along with Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey
Frank Shepard Fairey is an American contemporary graphic designer, and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his "André the Giant Has a Posse" sticker campaign, in which he appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. His...

, Dmote and others created work at a warehouse exhibition in Alexandria, Sydney for Semi-Permanent in 2003. Approximately 1,500 people attended.

£10 notes to Barely Legal (2004–06)


In August 2004, Banksy produced a quantity of spoof British £10 notes substituting the picture of the Queen's head with Diana, Princess of Wales's
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century...

 head and changing the text "Bank of England" to "Banksy of England." Someone threw a large wad of these into a crowd at Notting Hill Carnival that year, which some recipients then tried to spend in local shops. These notes were also given with invitations to a Santa's Ghetto exhibition by Pictures on Walls. The individual notes have since been selling on eBay
EBay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

 for about £200 each. A wad of the notes were also thrown over a fence and into the crowd near the NME signing tent at The Reading Festival. A limited run of 50 signed posters containing ten uncut notes were also produced and sold by Pictures on Walls for £100 each to commemorate the death of Princess Diana. One of these sold in October 2007 at Bonhams
Bonhams
Bonhams is a privately owned British auction house founded in 1793. It is the third largest auctioneer after Sotheby's and Christie's, and conducts around 700 auctions per year. It has 700 employees....

 auction house in London for £24,000.
In August 2005, Banksy, on a trip to the Palestinian territories, created nine images on the Israeli West Bank wall
Israeli West Bank barrier
The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier being constructed by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank. Upon completion, the barrier’s total length will be approximately...

.

Banksy held an exhibition called Barely Legal, billed as a "three day vandalised warehouse extravaganza" in Los Angeles, on the weekend of 16 September 2006. The exhibition featured a live "elephant in a room
Elephant in the room
"Elephant in the room" is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss....

," painted in a pink and gold floral wallpaper pattern, which, according to leaflets handed out at the exhibition, was intended to draw attention to the issue of world poverty. Although the Animal Services Department had issued a permit for the elephant, after complaints from animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 activists, the elephant appeared unpainted on the final day. Its owners rejected claims of mistreatment and said that the elephant had done "many, many movies. She's used to makeup." Banksy also made artwork displaying Queen Victoria as a lesbian and satirical pieces that incorporated art made by Andy Warhol and Leonardo da Vinci.

The Banksy effect (2006–07)


After Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera
Christina María Aguilera is an American recording artist and actress. Aguilera first appeared on national television in 1990 as a contestant on the Star Search program, and went on to star in Disney Channel's television series The Mickey Mouse Club from 1993–1994...

 bought an original of Queen Victoria as a lesbian and two prints for £25,000, on 19 October 2006 a set of Kate Moss
Kate Moss
Kate Moss is an English model. Moss is known for her waifish figure and popularising the heroin chic look in the 1990s. She is also known for her controversial private life, high profile relationships, party lifestyle, and drug use. Moss changed the look of modelling and started a global debate on...

 paintings sold in Sotheby's
Sotheby's
Sotheby's is the world's fourth oldest auction house in continuous operation.-History:The oldest auction house in operation is the Stockholms Auktionsverk founded in 1674, the second oldest is Göteborgs Auktionsverk founded in 1681 and third oldest being founded in 1731, all Swedish...

 London for £50,400, setting an auction record for Banksy's work. The six silk-screen prints, featuring the model painted in the style of Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

's Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s....

 pictures, sold for five times their estimated value. His stencil of a green Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa is a portrait by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is a painting in oil on a poplar panel, completed circa 1503–1519...

 with real paint dripping from her eyes sold for £57,600 at the same auction.
In December, journalist Max Foster
Max Foster
Max Foster is a senior Anchor/Correspondent on CNN International, based in London.-Education:Foster spent most of his childhood in Wiltshire, England where he attended Ridgeway School, Swindon and Dauntsey's School, Devizes...

 coined the phrase, "the Banksy effect," to illustrate how interest in other street artists was growing on the back of Banksy's success.

On 21 February 2007, Sotheby's auction house in London auctioned three works, reaching the highest ever price for a Banksy work at auction: over £102,000 for his Bombing Middle England. Two of his other graffiti works, Balloon Girl and Bomb Hugger, sold for £37,200 and £31,200 respectively, which were well above their estimated prices. The following day's auction saw a further three Banksy works reach soaring prices: Ballerina with Action Man Parts reached £96,000; Glory sold for £72,000; Untitled (2004) sold for £33,600; all significantly above estimated values. To coincide with the second day of auctions, Banksy updated his website with a new image of an auction house scene showing people bidding on a picture that said, "I Can't Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit."
In February 2007, the owners of a house with a Banksy mural on the side in Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 decided to sell the house through Red Propeller art gallery after offers fell through because the prospective buyers wanted to remove the mural. It is listed as a mural that comes with a house attached.

In April 2007, Transport for London
Transport for London
Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

 painted over Banksy's iconic image of a scene from Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Jerome Tarantino is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s, he began his career as an independent filmmaker with films employing nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence...

's Pulp Fiction, featuring Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel Leroy Jackson is an American film and television actor and film producer. After becoming involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse College, and then films. He had several small roles such as in the film Goodfellas before meeting his mentor,...

 and John Travolta
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta is an American actor, dancer and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease...

 clutching bananas instead of guns. Although the image was very popular, Transport for London
Transport for London
Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London...

 claimed that the "graffiti" created "a general atmosphere of neglect and social decay which in turn encourages crime" and their staff are "professional cleaners not professional art critics." Banksy tagged the same site again and, initially, the actors were portrayed as holding real guns instead of bananas, but they were adorned with banana costumes. Some time later, Banksy made a tribute art piece over this second Pulp Fiction piece. The tribute was for 19-year-old British graffiti artist Ozone who, along with fellow artist Wants, was hit by an underground train in Barking
Barking
Barking is a suburban town in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, in East London, England. A retail and commercial centre situated in the west of the borough, it lies east of Charing Cross. Barking was in the historic county of Essex until it was absorbed by Greater London. The area is...

, East London on 12 January 2007. The piece was of an angel wearing a bullet-proof vest holding a skull (pictured below left). He also wrote a note on his website saying:
The last time I hit this spot I painted a crap picture of two men in banana costumes waving hand guns. A few weeks later a writer called Ozone completely dogged it and then wrote 'If it's better next time I'll leave it' in the bottom corner. When we lost Ozone we lost a fearless graffiti writer and as it turns out a pretty perceptive art critic. Ozone – rest in peace.


On 27 April 2007, a new record high for the sale of Banksy's work was set with the auction of the work Space Girl & Bird fetching £288,000 (US$576,000) around 20 times the estimate at Bonhams
Bonhams
Bonhams is a privately owned British auction house founded in 1793. It is the third largest auctioneer after Sotheby's and Christie's, and conducts around 700 auctions per year. It has 700 employees....

 of London.
On 21 May 2007 Banksy gained the award for Art's Greatest living Briton
Greatest Britons
Greatest Britons was a one-off awards show on ITV, celebrating the best of British talent. It is distinct from 100 Greatest Britons.Greatest Britons recognises the most creative and successful people from across the UK who've achieved worldwide fame within their professional fields. The winners of...

. Banksy, as expected, did not turn up to collect his award and continued with his notoriously anonymous status.
On 4 June 2007, it was reported that Banksy's The Drinker had been stolen. In October 2007, most of his works offered for sale at Bonhams
Bonhams
Bonhams is a privately owned British auction house founded in 1793. It is the third largest auctioneer after Sotheby's and Christie's, and conducts around 700 auctions per year. It has 700 employees....

 auction house in London sold for more than twice their reserve price.

Banksy has published a "manifesto
Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

" on his website. The text of the manifesto is credited as the diary entry of one Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 Mervin Willett Gonin, DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

, which is exhibited in the Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. The museum was founded during the First World War in 1917 and intended as a record of the war effort and sacrifice of Britain and her Empire...

. It describes how a shipment of lipstick
Lipstick
Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients that applies color, texture, and protection to the lips. Many varieties of lipstick are known. As with most other types of makeup, lipstick is typically, but not exclusively, worn by women...

 to the Bergen-Belsen
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle...

 concentration camp immediately after its liberation at the end of World War II helped the internees regain their humanity. However, as of 18 January 2008, Banksy's Manifesto has been substituted with Graffiti Heroes No.03 that describes Peter Chappell's graffiti quest of the 1970s that worked to free George Davis
George Davis (armed robber)
George Davis is an ex-armed robber in the United Kingdom, who became widely known through a very successful campaign by friends and supporters to free him from prison after his wrongful conviction in March 1975 for an armed payroll robbery at the London Electricity Board offices in Ilford on 4...

 of his imprisonment. By 12 August 2009 he was relying on Emo Philips
Emo Philips
Emo Philips is an American entertainer and comedian born in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove. Much of his standup comedy stems from the use of paraprosdokians and garden path sentences spoken in a wandering falsetto tone of voice and a confused, childlike delivery of his material to produce the...

' "When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised God doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness."
A small number of Banksy's works can be seen in the movie Children of Men
Children of Men
Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction film loosely adapted from P. D. James's 1992 novel The Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. In 2027, two decades of human infertility have left society on the brink of collapse. Illegal immigrants seek sanctuary in England, where the last...

, including a stenciled image of two policemen kissing and another stencil of a child looking down a shop.

Banksy, who "is not represented by any of the commercial galleries that sell his work second hand (including Lazarides Ltd, Andipa Gallery, Bank Robber, Dreweatts etc)," claims that the exhibition at Vanina Holasek Gallery in New York (his first major exhibition in that city) is unauthorised. The exhibition featured 62 of his paintings and prints.

2008



In March, a stencilled graffiti work appeared on Thames Water
Thames Water
Thames Water Utilities Ltd, known as Thames Water, is the private utility company responsible for the public water supply and waste water treatment in large parts of Greater London, the Thames Valley, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Kent, and some other areas of in the United Kingdom...

 tower in the middle of the Holland Park roundabout
Holland Park Avenue
Holland Park Avenue is a street located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in west central London in England. The street runs from Notting Hill Gate in the east to the Holland Park Roundabout in the west, and forms a part of the old west road connecting London with Oxford and the west...

, and it was widely attributed to Banksy. It was of a child painting the tag "Take this Society" in bright orange. London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is a London borough in West London, and forms part of Inner London. Traversed by the east-west main roads of the A4 Great West Road and the A40 Westway, many international corporations have offices in the borough....

 spokesman, Councillor Greg Smith branded the art as vandalism, and ordered its immediate removal, which was carried out by H&F council workmen within three days.
Over the weekend 3–5 May in London, Banksy hosted an exhibition called The Cans Festival. It was situated on Leake Street
Leake Street
Leake Street, also known as the "Banksy tunnel", is a road in Lambeth, London. It is about 300 metres long, runs off York Road and under the platforms and tracks of Waterloo station. The walls are decorated with graffiti - initially created during the "Cans Festival" organised by Banksy in 2008 May...

, a road tunnel formerly used by Eurostar underneath London Waterloo station. Graffiti artists with stencils were invited to join in and paint their own artwork, as long as it did not cover anyone else's. Artists included Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat, born Xavier Prou in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris in 1952, was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, and has been described as the “Father of Stencil Graffiti” .-Early career and Influence:...

, Broken Crow, C215, Cartrain
Cartrain
Cartrain , often stylised cartяain, is a British artist associated with the graffiti urban art movement. YBA artist Damien Hirst has threatened to take legal steps against Cartain over his art and activities.-Early life:...

, Dolk, Dotmasters, J.Glover, Ben Eine
Ben Eine
Eine is a prolific street artist based in London, England.-Life and career:Eine is most notable for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters in London's Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Broadway Market areas. Some of these letters have been mapped for ease of finding...

, Eelus, Hero, Pure evil, Jef Aérosol
Jef Aérosol
Jef Aérosol is a French stencil graffiti artist. He has been one of the main urban art proponents in France since 1982. He was born in Nantes. He belongs to the very first street art pioneers of the early 80s like Blek le Rat, Miss.Tic, Jérôme Mesnager, Speedy Graphito.He spray painted his first...

, Mr Brainwash, Tom Civil Roadsworth and Sten & Lex.

In late August 2008, marking the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 and the associated levee failure disaster, Banksy produced a series of works in New Orleans, Louisiana, mostly on buildings derelict since the disaster.
A stencil painting attributed to Banksy appeared at a vacant petrol station in the Ensley
Ensley, Birmingham, Alabama
Ensley is a large city neighborhood in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It was once a separate and thriving industrial city. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover Metropolitan Area.-History:...

 neighbourhood of Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

, Alabama on 29 August as Hurricane Gustav
Hurricane Gustav
The name Gustav has been used for five tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean:* 1984's Tropical Storm Gustav - Spent most of its existence as a tropical depression hovering over Bermuda, no major damage was reported....

 approached the New Orleans area. The painting depicting a hooded member of the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

 hanging from a noose was quickly covered with black spray paint and later removed altogether.
His first official exhibition in New York, the "Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill," opened 5 October 2008. The animatronic
Audio-Animatronics
Audio-Animatronics is the registered trademark for a form of robotics created by Walt Disney Imagineering for shows and attractions at Disney theme parks, and subsequently expanded on and used by other companies. The robots move and make noise, generally in speech or song...

 pets in the store window include a mother hen watching over her baby Chicken McNuggets
Chicken McNuggets
Chicken McNuggets are a product offered by international fast-food restaurant chain McDonald's and are one of the most popular trademarked items on the McDonald's menu....

 as they peck at a barbecue sauce packet, and a rabbit putting makeup on in a mirror.

The Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council is the local authority for the City of Westminster in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council and is entitled to be known as a city council, which is a rare distinction in the United Kingdom. The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors...

 stated in October 2008 that the work "One Nation Under CCTV
Closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors....

," painted in April 2008 would be painted over as it was graffiti. The council said it would remove any graffiti, regardless of the reputation of its creator, and specifically stated that Banksy "has no more right to paint graffiti than a child." Robert Davis, the chairman of the council planning committee told The Times newspaper: "If we condone this then we might as well say that any kid with a spray can is producing art." The work was painted over in April 2009.
In December 2008, The Little Diver, a Banksy image of a diver in a duffle coat in Melbourne Australia was destroyed. The image had been protected by a sheet of clear perspex, however silver paint was poured behind the protective sheet and later tagged with the words "Banksy woz ere." The image was almost completely obliterated.

The Cans Festival


The Cans Festival was an urban art
Urban art
Urban art is a style of art that relates to cities and city life often done by artists who live in or have a passion for city life...

 festival held from 3–5 May 2008 in London and organized by the noted street artist Banksy.
It was held in an abandoned tunnel on Leake Street, London (SE1 7NN).

Banksy invited thirty-nine artists from around the world, including Sten Lex
Sten Lex
Sten and Lex , known as Sten and Lex, are two italian street artists.Sten & Lex have been doing stencils on the street since 2000/2001 and today their work is part of the urban landscape in their home town of Rome, London, Paris, Barcelona, New York...

, Bsas Stencil, Prism
Prism (street artist)
Prism is a notable street artist operating out of Melbourne Australia.Prism cut his first stencil in 2000 of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, with devil horns. Prism moved to Melbourne in 2001....

, Roadsworth, Blek
Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat, born Xavier Prou in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris in 1952, was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, and has been described as the “Father of Stencil Graffiti” .-Early career and Influence:...

, C215, Dotmasters, Hero, Sadhu, Lucamaleonte, Faile
Faile (artist)
FAILE is a Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller...

, Logan Hicks, Btoy, Vhils, Vexta
Vexta
Vexta is a prominent Melbourne street artist. She is especially notable because she is a female operating in a male-dominated arena. Her work is mostly human portraiture. Vexta requests that her name not be published....

 and John Grider exhibited their works in an abandoned tunnel near Leake Street in South East London.

The festival’s name is a play on the famous French film extravaganza The Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

.

2009



In May 2009, Banksy parted company with agent Steve Lazarides and announced that Pest Control, the handling service who act on his behalf, would be the only point of sale for new works.
On 13 June 2009, the Banksy UK Summer show opened at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery
Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery
The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery is a large museum and art gallery in Bristol, England. It is run by the city council with no entrance fee. It holds designated museum status, granted by the national government to protect outstanding museums...

, featuring more than 100 works of art, including animatronics and installations; it is his largest exhibition yet, featuring 78 new works. Reaction to the show was positive, with over 8,500 visitors to the show on the first weekend. Over the course of the twelve weeks, the exhibition was visited over 300,000 times.
In September 2009, a Banksy work parodying the Royal Family was partially destroyed by Hackney Council after they served an enforcement notice for graffiti removal to the former address of the property owner. The mural had been commissioned for the 2003 Blur
Blur (band)
Blur is an English alternative rock band. Formed in London in 1989 as Seymour, the group consists of singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur's debut album Leisure incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing...

 single "Crazy Beat
Crazy Beat
"Crazy Beat" is a song by English alternative rock band Blur. It was released as the second single from their seventh album Think Tank in 2003. "Crazy Beat" has been compared by critics and the band to Blur's 1997 hit "Song 2" in its guitar-driven simplicity...

" and the property owner, who had allowed the piece to be painted, was reported to have been in tears when she saw it was being painted over.
In December 2009, Banksy marked the end of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, was held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 December and 18 December. The conference included the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

 by painting four murals on global warming. One included the phrase, "I don't believe in global warming;" the words were submerged in water.
A feud and graffiti war between Banksy and King Robbo
King Robbo
King Robbo is an English underground graffiti artist who became more widely known following a graffiti war with Banksy. There had been a previous meeting between Robbo and Banksy in the nineties during where Robbo claimed he slapped Banksy, a claim Banksy denied...

 broke out when Banksy allegedly painted over one of Robbo's tags. The feud has led to many of Banksy's works being altered by graffiti writers.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)


The world premiere of the film Exit Through the Gift Shop
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Guetta happily accepts the assignment, adopting the name "Mr. Brainwash", putting up street art in the city and six months later, re-mortgaging his business to afford renting copious equipment and a complete production team to create pieces of art under his supervision...

occurred at the Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new...

 in Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah
Park City is a town in Summit and Wasatch counties in the U.S. state of Utah. It is considered to be part of the Wasatch Back. The city is southeast of downtown Salt Lake City and from Salt Lake City's east edge of Sugar House along Interstate 80. The population was 7,558 at the 2010 census...

, on 24 January. He created 10 street pieces around Park City and Salt Lake City to tie in with the screening.
In February, The Whitehouse
The Whitehouse (pub)
The Whitehouse is a Grade II listed building in Duke Street, Liverpool, England. The side of the building has an image of a giant rat holding a marker pen by graffiti artist Banksy. In February 2010, the pub sold for £114,000 at auction.-References:...

 public house in Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, England, was sold for £114,000 at auction. The side of the building has an image of a giant rat by Banksy.
In March 2010, the work "Forgive us our Trespassing" was displayed in the London underground. The work had to be displayed without the halo over the boy's head. After a few days the halo was repainted and the poster was removed by Tube advertising bosses. The display was organised by Art Below
Art Below
Art Below is a London based public art enterprise. It was founded in 2006 by Ben Moore. With a wide range of international artists and its various campaigns in cities worldwide, Art Below has an important position within the movement of contemporary art in public space...

, a London based public art agency.
In April 2010, Melbourne City Council in Australia reported that they had inadvertently ordered private contractors to paint over the last remaining Banksy art in the city. The image was of a rat descending in a parachute
Parachuting Rat (Banksy)
Parachuting Rat is an artwork in Melbourne, Australia created by Banksy in 2003. On 26 April 2010 it was painted over by council contractors, leading to local and international coverage and debate on the nature of street art and its preservation, and new measures for its...

 adorning the wall of an old council building behind the Forum Theatre. In 2008, vandals had poured paint over a stencil of an old-fashioned diver wearing a trenchcoat. A council spokeswoman has said they would now rush through retrospective permits to protect other "famous or significant artworks" in the city.
In April 2010, to coincide with the premiere of Exit Through the Gift Shop in San Francisco, five of his pieces appeared in various parts of the city. Banksy reportedly paid a San Francisco Chinatown building owner $50 for the use of their wall for one of his stencils.
In early May 2010, seven new Banksy pieces appeared in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, though most have been subsequently painted over or removed.
In May 2010, to coincide with the premiere of Exit Through the Gift Shop in Royal Oak, Banksy visited the Detroit area and left his mark in several places in Detroit and Warren. Shortly after the Detroit piece showing a little boy holding a can of red paint next to the words "I remember when all this was trees" was excavated by the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios. They claim that they do not intend to sell the work but plan to preserve it and display it at their Detroit gallery. There was also an attempted removal of one of the Warren pieces known as "Diamond Girl."

In late January 2011, Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated for a 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Banksy released a statement about the nomination, where he said, "This is a big surprise... I don't agree with the concept of award ceremonies, but I'm prepared to make an exception for the ones I'm nominated for. The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me." Leading up to the Oscars, Banksy blanketed Los Angeles with street art. Many people speculated if Banksy would show up at the Oscars in disguise and make a surprise appearance if he won the Oscar. Exit Through the Gift Shop did not win the award, which went to Inside Job. In early March 2011, Banksy responded to the Oscars with an art piece in Weston, UK, of a little girl holding the Oscar and pouting. Many people think the piece is in reference to 15-month old Lara, who dropped and damaged her father's (The King’s Speech co-producer Simon Egan) Oscar statue. Exit Through the Gift Shop was broadcast on British public television station Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 on 13 August 2011.

Banksy was also credited with the opening couch gag for the 2010 The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

episode "MoneyBART
MoneyBART
"MoneyBART" is the third episode of The Simpsons twenty-second season that premiered in the United States on October 10, 2010, on the Fox network. In this episode, Lisa coaches Bart's Little League baseball team to a record winning streak by using her book smarts in statistics and probability...

," depicting people working in deplorable conditions and using endangered or mythical animals to make both the episodes cel-by-cel and the merchandise connected with the program. His name appears several times throughout the episode's opening sequence, spray-painted on assorted walls and signs.

2011


In May 2011 Banksy released a lithographic print which showed a smoking petrol bomb contained in a 'Tesco Value' bottle. This followed a long running campaign by locals against the opening of a Tesco Express supermarket in Banksy's home city of Bristol. Violent clashes had taken place between police and demonstrators in the Stokes Croft area. Banksy produced the poster ostensibly to raise money for local groups in the Stokes Croft area and to raise money for the legal defence of those arrested during the riots. The posters were sold exclusively at the Bristol Anarchists Bookfair in Stokes Croft for £5 each.

Notable art pieces



In regards to personal fame, Banksy has stated that "We don’t need any more heroes; we just need someone to take out the recycling
Recycling
Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

." However, in addition to his artwork, Banksy has claimed responsibility for a number of high profile art pieces, including the following:
  • At London Zoo
    London Zoo
    London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo. It was opened in London on 27 April 1828, and was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847...

    , he climbed into the penguin enclosure and painted "We're bored of fish" in 7 feet (2.1 m) letters.
  • At Bristol Zoo
    Bristol Zoo
    Bristol Zoo is a zoo in the city of Bristol in South West England. The zoo's stated mission is "Bristol Zoo Gardens maintains and defends biodiversity through breeding endangered species, conserving threatened species and habitats and promoting a wider understanding of the natural...

    , he left the message 'I want out. This place is too cold. Keeper smells. Boring, boring, boring.' in the elephant enclosure.
  • In March 2005, he placed subverted artworks in the Museum of Modern Art
    Museum of Modern Art
    The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

    , Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

    , the Brooklyn Museum
    Brooklyn Museum
    The Brooklyn Museum is an encyclopedia art museum located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. At 560,000 square feet, the museum holds New York City's second largest art collection with roughly 1.5 million works....

    , and the American Museum of Natural History
    American Museum of Natural History
    The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...

     in New York.
  • In May 2005 Banksy's version of a primitive cave painting
    Cave painting
    Cave paintings are paintings on cave walls and ceilings, and the term is used especially for those dating to prehistoric times. The earliest European cave paintings date to the Aurignacian, some 32,000 years ago. The purpose of the paleolithic cave paintings is not known...

     depicting a human figure hunting wildlife whilst pushing a shopping trolley was hung in gallery 49 of the British Museum
    British Museum
    The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

    , London. Upon discovery, they added it to their permanent collection.
  • In August 2005, Banksy painted nine images on the Israeli West Bank barrier
    Israeli West Bank barrier
    The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier being constructed by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank. Upon completion, the barrier’s total length will be approximately...

    , including an image of a ladder going up and over the wall and an image of children digging a hole through the wall.
  • In April 2006, Banksy created a sculpture based on a crumpled red phone box with a pickaxe in its side, apparently bleeding, and placed it in a side street in Soho
    Soho
    Soho is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable...

    , London. It was later removed by Westminster Council. BT released a press release, which said: "This is a stunning visual comment on BT's transformation from an old-fashioned telecommunications company into a modern communications services provider."
  • In June 2006, Banksy created an image of a naked man hanging out of a bedroom window on a wall visible from Park Street in central Bristol
    Bristol
    Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

    . The image sparked some controversy, with the Bristol City Council leaving it up to the public to decide whether it should stay or go. After an internet discussion in which 97% of the 500 people surveyed supported the stencil, the city council decided it would be left on the building. The mural was later repainted with blue paint by fellow graffiti artists.
  • In August/September 2006, Banksy replaced up to 500 copies of Paris Hilton
    Paris Hilton
    Paris Whitney Hilton is an American businesswoman, heiress, and socialite. She is a great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton . Hilton is known for her controversial participation in a sex tape in 2003, and appearance on the television series The Simple Life alongside fellow socialite and childhood...

    's debut CD, Paris
    Paris (Paris Hilton album)
    Paris is the debut studio album by American media personality and singer Paris Hilton, released on her own label, Heiress Records, in association with Warner Bros. Records. The album was released in the United States on August 22, 2006...

    , in 48 different UK record stores with his own cover art and remixes by Danger Mouse
    Danger Mouse
    Brian Joseph Burton , better known by his stage name Danger Mouse, is an American musician, songwriter and producer. He came to prominence in 2004 when he released The Grey Album, which combined vocal performances from Jay-Z's The Black Album with instrumentals from The Beatles' White Album.He...

    . Music tracks were given titles such as "Why Am I Famous?", "What Have I Done?" and "What Am I For?". Several copies of the CD were purchased by the public before stores were able to remove them, some going on to be sold for as much as £750 on online auction websites such as eBay
    EBay
    eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

    . The cover art depicted Paris Hilton digitally altered to appear topless. Other pictures feature her with a dog's head replacing her own, and one of her stepping out of a luxury car, edited to include a group of homeless people, which included the caption "90% of success is just showing up."
  • In September 2006, Banksy dressed an inflatable doll in the manner of a Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
    Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
    The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq...

     prisoner (orange jumpsuit, black hood, and handcuffs) and then placed the figure within the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an indoor/outdoor mine train roller coaster located in Frontierland at several Disneyland-style Disney Parks worldwide...

     ride at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim
    Anaheim, California
    Anaheim is a city in Orange County, California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was about 365,463, making it the most populated city in Orange County, the 10th most-populated city in California, and ranked 54th in the United States...

    , California.
  • He also makes stickers (the Neighbourhood Watch subvert) and was responsible for the cover art of Blur's
    Blur (band)
    Blur is an English alternative rock band. Formed in London in 1989 as Seymour, the group consists of singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur's debut album Leisure incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing...

     2003 album Think Tank.

Technique



Asked about his technique, Banksy said:

Stencils are traditionally hand drawn or printed onto sheets of acetate or card, before being cut out by hand. Because of the secretive nature of Banksy's work and identity, it is uncertain what techniques he uses to generate the images in his stencils, though it is assumed he uses computers for some images due to the photocopy nature of much of his work.

He mentions in his book, Wall and Piece, that as he was starting to do graffiti, he was always too slow and was either caught or could never finish the art in the one sitting. So he devised a series of intricate stencils to minimize time and overlapping of the colour.

There is dispute in the street art world over the legitimacy of stencils, with many artists criticizing their use as "cheating."

Political and social themes


Banksy's works have dealt with an array of political and social themes, including anti-War
Anti-war
An anti-war movement is a social movement, usually in opposition to a particular nation's decision to start or carry on an armed conflict, unconditional of a maybe-existing just cause. The term can also refer to pacifism, which is the opposition to all use of military force during conflicts. Many...

, anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....

, anti-fascism
Anti-fascism
Anti-fascism is the opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals, such as that of the resistance movements during World War II. The related term antifa derives from Antifaschismus, which is German for anti-fascism; it refers to individuals and groups on the left of the political...

, anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism, strictly speaking, is a term that may be applied to a movement opposed to any form of colonialism or imperialism. Anti-imperialism includes opposition to wars of conquest, particularly of non-contiguous territory or people with a different language or culture; it also includes...

, anti-authoritarianism, anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

, and existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

. Additionally, the components of the human condition
Human condition
The human condition encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not connected to gender, race, class, etc. — a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of...

 that his works commonly critique are greed
Greed
Greed is an excessive desire to possess wealth, goods, or abstract things of value with the intention to keep it for one's self. Greed is inappropriate expectation...

, poverty, hypocrisy
Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie....

, boredom
Boredom
Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is without any activity or is not interested in their surroundings. The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852, in which it appears six times, although the expression to be a...

, despair, absurdity
Absurdity
An absurdity is a thing that is extremely unreasonable, so as to be foolish or not taken seriously, or the state of being so. "Absurd" is an adjective used to describe an absurdity, e.g., “this encyclopedia article is absurd”. It derives from the Latin absurdusm meaning "out of tune", hence...

, and alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

. Although Banksy's works usually rely on visual imagery and iconography to put forth his message, he has made several politically related comments in his various books. In summarising his list of "people who should be shot," he listed "Fascist thugs, religious fundamentalists, (and) people who write lists telling you who should be shot." While facetiously describing his political nature, Banksy declared that "Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world, I can’t even finish my second apple pie."

Identity


There have been numerous rumours and theories as to Banksy's identity. Names often suggested include Robin Banks and Robin Gunningham. Another theory is that Banksy is actually a collective of artists rather than a single person.

In 2004, an alleged photograph of him in Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 at the Two-Culture Clash Project surfaced. In October 2007, a story on the BBC website featured a photo allegedly taken by a passer-by in Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green is a district of the East End of London, England and part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, with the far northern parts falling within the London Borough of Hackney. Located northeast of Charing Cross, it was historically an agrarian hamlet in the ancient parish of Stepney,...

, London, purporting to show Banksy at work with an assistant, scaffolding and a truck. The story confirms that Tower Hamlets Council in London has decided to treat all Banksy works as vandalism
Vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

 and remove them. Through the pictures, Banksy's identity was speculated to be Robin Gunningham, a man born in Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 on 28 July 1973. Gunningham was educated at Bristol Cathedral School
Bristol Cathedral School
Bristol Cathedral Choir School , until 2008 known as Bristol Cathedral School, is a non-selective musical Academy in Bristol, England. It is situated next to Bristol Cathedral, in the centre of the city. The choristers at Bristol Cathedral are educated at the school, which has a strong musical...

, and, according to a former friend, was "extremely talented at art." Gunningham lived with artist Luke Egan. Around 2000, when Banksy moved from Bristol to London, Gunningham is known to have moved from Bristol to a London flat in Hackney
London Borough of Hackney
The London Borough of Hackney is a London borough of North/North East London, and forms part of inner London. The local authority is Hackney London Borough Council....

, and a number of Banksy's most famous works appeared nearby. At that time, Gunningham lived with Jamie Eastman, who worked for a record label that used illustrations by Banksy.

In May 2009, the Mail on Sunday once again speculated about Gunningham being Banksy after a "self-portrait" of a rat holding a sign with the face of the man on the 2004 photo shot on it was photographed in East London. This "new Banksy rat" story was also picked up by The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

and the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

.

In response to reports that Banksy was Robin Gunningham, Banksy's agent refused to either confirm or deny the reports.

In May 2007, an extensive article written by Lauren Collins of The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

re-opened the Banksy-identity controversy citing the 2004 photograph of the artist that was taken in Jamaica during the Two-Culture Clash project and later published in the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

in 2004.

Simon Hattenstone from Guardian Unlimited
Guardian Unlimited
guardian.co.uk, formerly known as Guardian Unlimited, is a British website owned by the Guardian Media Group. Georgina Henry is the editor...

is one of the very few people to have interviewed him face to face. Hattenstone describes him as "a cross of Jimmy Nail
Jimmy Nail
James Bradford "Jimmy" Nail is an English singer-songwriter, actor, musician, film producer, film score composer and television writer....

 and British rapper Mike Skinner
The Streets
The Streets were a British rap/garage project from Birmingham, United Kingdom, led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Skinner and has included a myriad of other contributors most notably drummer Johnny Drum Machine, vocalist Kevin Mark Trail and the Italian-American beatmaker Leroy.The...

" and "a 28 year old male who showed up wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a silver tooth, silver chain, and one silver earring." In the same interview, Banksy claimed that his parents think he is a painter and decorator.

An article posted at The Onion
The Onion
The Onion is an American news satire organization. It is an entertainment newspaper and a website featuring satirical articles reporting on international, national, and local news, in addition to a non-satirical entertainment section known as The A.V. Club...

 jokes that Banksy is actually an 89-year-old woman from Old London.

Banksy, himself, states on his website:

Critics


Peter Gibson, a spokesman for Keep Britain Tidy
Keep Britain Tidy
Keep Britain Tidy is a British campaign run by the Keep Britain Tidy environmental charity, which is part funded by the UK government. The majority of their campaigning is around the issue of litter. They have been using "Keep Britain Tidy" as their slogan for almost fifty years...

, asserts that Banksy's work is simple vandalism, and Diane Shakespeare, an official for the same organisation, was quoted as saying: "We are concerned that Banksy's street art glorifies what is essentially vandalism." In his column for The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, satirist Charlie Brooker
Charlie Brooker
Charlton "Charlie" Brooker is a British journalist, comic writer and broadcaster. His style of humour is savage and profane, with surreal elements and a consistent satirical pessimism...

 wrote of Banksy "...his work looks dazzlingly clever to idiots."

He has also been long criticised for copying the work of Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat, born Xavier Prou in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris in 1952, was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, and has been described as the “Father of Stencil Graffiti” .-Early career and Influence:...

, creator of the life-sized stencil technique in early 1980s Paris. Blek initially brushed off such criticism, stating pride if he were an influence on "an artist that good", and was seen adding to a mural initiated by Banksy in San Francisco in early 2011.
However, later that same year, in the documentary Graffiti Wars, Blek took a different perspective, stating:

See also

  • Parachuting Rat (Banksy)
    Parachuting Rat (Banksy)
    Parachuting Rat is an artwork in Melbourne, Australia created by Banksy in 2003. On 26 April 2010 it was painted over by council contractors, leading to local and international coverage and debate on the nature of street art and its preservation, and new measures for its...

  • Works by Banksy damaged or destroyed
    Works by Banksy damaged or destroyed
    This list is of works of guerilla art by Banksy removed from their original locations or otherwise damaged or destroyed.-Removed from their original locations:...

  • List of urban artists
  • Street art
    Street art
    Street art is any art developed in public spaces — that is, "in the streets" — though the term usually refers to unsanctioned art, as opposed to government sponsored initiatives...

  • @earth
    @earth
    @earth is a 2011 book made by London born photomontage artist Peter Kennard with Lebanese artist Tarek Salhany. It is a photo-essay told through photomontage with seven chapters exposing the current state of the earth, the conditions of life on it and the need to resist injustice...

  • King Robbo
    King Robbo
    King Robbo is an English underground graffiti artist who became more widely known following a graffiti war with Banksy. There had been a previous meeting between Robbo and Banksy in the nineties during where Robbo claimed he slapped Banksy, a claim Banksy denied...

  • Blek le Rat
    Blek le Rat
    Blek le Rat, born Xavier Prou in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris in 1952, was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, and has been described as the “Father of Stencil Graffiti” .-Early career and Influence:...

  • Above
    Above (artist)
    ABOVE has been creating public art since 1995. Above is an international street artist who keeps his identity concealed. Above is known for his multi-layer/full color social and political stencils, spinning wooden "arrow mobile" installations, and large mural "word play" paintings. Above started...


External links


  • Pest Control – official Banksy authentication
  • Banksy Street Art Photos
  • Banksy Images – from Flickr
    Flickr
    Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community that was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to...

  • Banksy Works – from Artnet
    Artnet
    artnet is an online service provider for the international art market with headquarters in New York, Berlin and Paris. Additionally, artnet has regional offices in China, the UK and Russia.- Business model :...

  • Banksy Gallery – by BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

  • Banksy v Bristol Museum – slideshow by BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

  • Banksy Under the Hammer – slideshow by The First Post
    The First Post
    The First Post is a British daily online news magazine based in London. It was launched in August 2005. It publishes news, current affairs, lifestyle, opinion, arts and sports pages, and it features an online games arcade and a cinema featuring short films, virals, trailers and eyewitness news...

  • Banksy on the West Bank – slideshow by The First Post
    The First Post
    The First Post is a British daily online news magazine based in London. It was launched in August 2005. It publishes news, current affairs, lifestyle, opinion, arts and sports pages, and it features an online games arcade and a cinema featuring short films, virals, trailers and eyewitness news...

  • Banksy: In Plain Sight – exhibition slideshow by The New Yorker
    The New Yorker
    The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...