22 04 2008

Banksy started as a graffiti artist. Most large cities in the world are peppered with graffiti. Ugly tags that wallpaper the concrete. 99% of the time they are created by people having fun with a can of paint and who want to see their name on the wall. Banksy is different. He really does make art. I was always skeptical of people who claim to be graffiti artists. They tend to just have cool handwriting, and not much to write about.

Banksy actually brings issues to the attention of the public. If the public is looking, that is. He is one of the modern day artists that will definitely make it into the history books (if he hasn’t already). His manifesto is about a man who was convicted of a crime and let free, because people who believed he was innocent were protesting through graffiti and vandalism. Turns out, after he was let go, he committed similar crimes and was sent to jail again. The fact is that graffiti and vandalism can make a difference in how the public sees something. When it’s shoved in their face, and they have no other choice but to read it.

It’s not like the internet or the paper. You can turn off the TV, choose not to read an article, click on another link. But when you see an image that strikes you, and says something to you, you can’t help but understand why the artist is doing what he’s doing. Some of the images are just fun too. They make you smile, others make you cringe and say “that’s the world we live in”


He has hung up his own artwork into museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and also the Tate Museum in London. He just walked right in and put his artwork on the walls. I’m not sure if they are still hanging there, but he now exhibits in galleries. He takes existing paintings and alters them slightly.

He is very illusive about his identity. Graffiti artists tend to be reluctant to tell who they are for obvious reasons… They are painting illegally. But Banksy has risen to such fame, that even if his identity was revealed I don’t think he would be arrested for his artwork.

His hidden identity almost brings him to a superhero level. I think that because his identity is so secret, it brings another whole level to his artwork. He’s not looking for fame — although he found it. He enjoys all the perks of being famous, (the money, the publicity) all the while keeping the anonymity of a regular person. Does this help his artwork? If the paparazzi followed him around, would he be able to create as stealthily as he does? This may have been the best thing he did for his career. 

Banksy is an artist. Some people may disagree. He paints on walls and probably shouldn’t. But he does, and hopefully the world will be better for it. Hopefully he brings some issues to the attention of the public. The public that might not have otherwise seen a thing…

Here is Banksy’s website




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