I don’t need to say much to introduce Banksy—a controversial artist known all around the world, adorning the streets with his loud and memorable artworks.
Banksy has started painting in the streets of Bristol, using free hand style at first. In the 90’s, working under different names and as a member of a crew, he established himself firmly in the scene. After an incident of nearly being caught by the police for vandalizing a private property, he searched for a way to speed up the painting time, and came across Parisian artist Blek le Rat, the ‘father of stencil graffiti’. Blek has become a major influence for years to come.
Banksy’s stencil pieces focus on political and social issues, bringing them to light with an ever-present darkly humourous twist. His most common topics are war, capitalism, philosophy, hypocrisy and greed; with the most common subjects being children, politicians, policemen, members of royal family, rats and apes. He sometimes uses copyrighted material and classical paintings to communicate his message.
Banksy is also known for creating installations, and has even had a successful go at directing a documentary called Exit through the gift shop, which has been dominated for an Academy Award.
Banksy has worked in places outside of the UK on a number of occasions, most noticeably on the wall separating Israel from Palestine. He also visited Australia, Jamaica and Canada. In 2013, he spent artistically productive periods of time in NY.
Perhaps the most controversial fact about Banksy is his unknown identity. There are a few speculations circulating around, but until this day, nobody really knows who he really is. Protecting his privacy carefully, he doesn’t give interviews and stays out of public eye.
Being the most well-known graffiti artist in the world, Bansky is enjoying the commercial side of his success. His pieces have been selling for hundreds of pounds, and his fans include celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brand Pitt, Drake, Swiss Beatz, Kate Moss and Serena Williams to mention but a few.
Let’s hope his identity remains unknown and he keeps creating gems for everyone to enjoy.