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Artists Banksy

Banksy

British Graffiti Artist, Political Activist, and Film Director

Banksy Photo

Born: c. 1965 - 1974 - Bristol, England

"A wall is a very big weapon. It's one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with."

Banksy Signature

Summary

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, English graffiti artist and international prankster Banksy has managed to become one of the world's most recognized artists while remaining relatively anonymous. Staying true to the credos of street art, he's built a celebrated body of work, both permanent and impermanent, that utilizes satire, subversion, dark humor, and irony to create resonant social, political, and humanist messages for the masses on a populous and public level. His style is universally familiar, founded on a signature stencil aesthetic that has elevated him from mere man with a spray can to a highly creative artist in his own right. He is responsible for catapulting guerilla work into the mainstream as a viable form of art.

Key Ideas

Banksy's artistry lies in his ability to use humor and sardonic wit to trick viewers into contemplating the underlying seriousness of his messages about capitalism, advertising, politics, and humanity. It is this very sense of innocent whimsy coupled with daring, glaring truths about our times that lift him to a role as potent social mediator all under the guise of art.
Because of the volatility and impermanence of Banksy's chosen canvas, i.e. the street and improvisational pop-up public places, he remains true to guerilla art's philosophy, being that the commodification of art is a blasphemous way to validate an artist within only a specific social sector or market.
Anonymity has been Banksy's modus operandi, largely because it removes the status of artist as celebrity and instead forces a focus on the artwork. It also allows for the freedom of telling one's unapologetic truth without regard to consequence.
In an ironic twist of fate, Banksy's subversive mien has only furthered his crossover to mainstream acceptance as the world takes note of his signature style and lack of any noted ego drive toward artistic recognition. The artist himself has become a bridge not unlike the ones his artwork aims to build.
Because graffiti is illegal, Banksy's work continues to raise questions in the social sphere about the lines between public art and vandalism. If his work on the side of a building becomes a collectible, protected piece while another less known street artist is jailed for performing a similar action, what does this signify about the hypocrisy afforded to fame?
Banksy's <i>Mona Lisa With Rocket Launcher</i>

Whether Banksy is one person, or a group of people we don't know. But it is a fact that he (she, or it) has created some of the most powerful, controversial, witty, and brilliant contemporary art.

Most Important Art


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