By 2008, despite the global financial crash, a Banksy 'vandalised' version of a Damien Hirst painting sold for over $1.8m. High profile art collectors and celebrities spend thousands to own a Banksy. Among the rich and famous, designer Paul Smith, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are known to be Banksy collectors. After claims that his success meant that he had sold out, Banksy said: “I love the way capitalism finds a place – even for its enemies. It’s boom time in the discontent industry.”
Banksy is believed to be Robin Gunningham, born on 28 July 1973 in Yate, 12 miles (19 km) from Bristol. Several of Gunningham's associates and former schoolmates at the public Bristol Cathedral School have corroborated this rumour, and in 2016, a study found that the incidence of Banksy's works correlated with the known movements of Gunningham. Lawyers representing Banksy commented on this study, but did not suggest that the paper's conclusions were flawed.
Both Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald are two family-friendly faces of American capitalism, the same country that dropped Napalm on Vietnam. Banksy's work then becomes a critique of not just America but also of capitalism. The girl's horror-stricken face is juxtaposed against the two characters' big, bright smiles. In this simple image, Banksy shows both the fun, carefree facade of American culture, and the reality that America also has a very dark, underbelly which drops bombs on people, and both commercializes and glamorizes war. Banksy once stated that "The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It's people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages."
This Banksy work was found in Hastings and depicts a young child building sandcastles. This in itself is not controversial, but when we notice that Tesco is printed on the sandcastles it takes on a new meaning. Consumerism is a common theme in Banksy’s work and here he seems to be indicating that the supermarket giant is taking over the country! The artwork is still visible on the Sea wall although it has been defaced by other graffitti artists. Approximate location of Tesco Sandcastle.
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