Once again Banksy has used existing feature to enhance his work. Here the double yellow lines of the road are extended across the pavement and up the wall where they bloom into a flower. The pavement lines have been removed and the painter’s face is mostly obscured with newer graffiti, but the flower is still clear. Yellow Lines Flower Painter location.
The Thekla boat in Bristol was originally tagged by Banksy in 2003. The moored nightclub boat’s owners posted an image of the “tag” on their website and asked their customers whether it should stay. The response was to keep it, but Bristol City Council later ordered its removal. Years after its removal, Banksy returned and re-painted the Grim Reaper in the same spot where it remains to this day. Grim Reaper (Thekla) location
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.
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Arguably Banksy’s most iconic piece, it appeared in South Bank, London in around 2002. The words ‘There Is Always Hope’ are written just behind a young girl, who can be seen reaching for a balloon in the shape of a heart. Intense debate has raged on over the years regarding the true meaning of this stencil, with a variety of ideas involving love, innocence and – obviously – hope.
In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, Banksy created 2 Olympic themed artworks. This one known as ‘Welcome to Hackney’ or ‘Javelin Thrower’ shows an athlete throwing a missile. This is in protest of the decision to add surface to air missile launchers on top of some residential tower blocks in the city as part of the security measures during the games. The location was closely guarded to avoid it being removed.
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When Time magazine selected the British artist Banksy—graffiti master, painter, activist, filmmaker and all-purpose provocateur—for its list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010, he found himself in the company of Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Lady Gaga. He supplied a picture of himself with a paper bag (recyclable, naturally) over his head. Most of his fans don’t really want to know who he is (and have loudly protested Fleet Street attempts to unmask him). But they do want to follow his upward trajectory from the outlaw spraying—or, as the argot has it, “bombing”—walls in Bristol, England, during the 1990s to the artist whose work commands hundreds of thousands of dollars in the auction houses of Britain and America. Today, he has bombed cities from Vienna to San Francisco, Barcelona to Paris and Detroit. And he has moved from graffiti on gritty urban walls to paint on canvas, conceptual sculpture and even film, with the guileful documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
There is some debate over whether or not Secured is actually a genuine Banksy artwork. It appeared on a boarded up window of a building in Concert Street, Liverpool and pokes fun at companies who use cheap migrant workers for jobs such as security guards. The full text reads “Secured – by sleepy migrant workers on minimum wage”. The board was exhibited at the Stealing Banksy exhibition, but as this was not done in partnership with Banksy and none of that displayed artworks were authenticated by Banksy or his representative Pest Control this does not prove that this is a genuine Banksy. Secured location
Because of the secretive nature of Banksy's work and identity, it is uncertain what techniques he uses to generate the images in the stencils, though it is assumed he uses computers for some images due to the photographic quality of much of his work. He mentions in his book Wall and Piece that as he was starting to do graffiti, he was always either caught or could never finish the art in one sitting. He claims he changed to stencilling while hiding from the police under a rubbish lorry, when he noticed the stencilled serial number. He then devised a series of intricate stencils to minimise time and overlapping of the colour.
This is one of the lesser known Banksy pieces in the San Francisco area. It depicts Osama Bin Laden sunbathing. The piece requires a hefty climb to access it but the spot provides beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It pokes fun at the idea that while the USA was hunting for Bin Laden he was believed to be hiding in the US. Osama Sunbathing location.
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Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. Banksy no longer sells photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, but his public 'installations' are regularly resold, often even by removing the wall they were painted on. A small number of Banksy's works are officially, non-publicly, sold through Pest Control. Banksy's documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film. In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.
By using shopping carts, an image associated with consumerism, Banksy's message is that society is focused on material goods, buying more than is necessary in a futile attempt to make ourselves feel happy and fulfilled. Moreover, by representing these man-made objects as discarded in an otherwise beautiful natural setting, he critiques contemporary society's disregard for nature in favor of commodity fetishism and the production of excessive waste, Even the title of Banksy's work has subverted the meaning of the original, with the word money being a play on Monet, which can be read as a critique of the commercialization of art.
In 2005, to comment on Israeli involvement in Palestine, Banksy travelled to the Middle East and targeted the West Bank wall. His satirical stencils criticised Israeli militarism and oppression. The works provoked fierce debate in the media over whether a wall judged to be “illegal” by the International Court of Justice could in fact be vandalised. Banksy described the wall as “the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers".
Artwork description & Analysis: This work by Banksy refigures the iconic Impressionist painting Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lillies (1899) by Claude Monet. Monet's original reveals a tranquil scene of his own garden, with rich vegetation reflected in the calm water. Banksy has replicated Monet's original painting almost exactly, using the same materials as Monet, however Banksy has added two discarded shopping carts and a traffic cone to the pond.
Banksy is usually most well known for his 2 dimensional graffiti art, but from time to time his installations also cause something of a stir. This broken telephone box appeared overnight in a Soho street complete with an axe and pool of blood. The piece featured in Banksy’s “Exit Throguh The Gift Shop” film, but did it represent the death of phone communication thanks to the birth of social media or did BT get it right when the embraced the work as a representation of their change away from the iconic red phoneboxes to a more modern design.
Possibly one of the most recognisable Banksy artworks, Sweep it Under the Carpet appeared on a wall on Chalk Farm Road, North London in around 2006. It shows a woman dressed as a maid who is sweeping dirt under the cover of a brick wall. The piece is said to represent the reluctance of the western world to deal with global issues such as the AIDS epidemic, amongst others. Sweep it Under the Carpet – approx location
There exists a debate about the influence behind his work. Some critics claim Banksy was influenced by musician and graffiti artist 3D. Another source credits the artist's work to resemble that of French graffiti artist called Blek le Rat. It is said that Banksy was inspired by their use of stencils, later taking this visual style and transforming it through modern political and social pieces.
Artwork description & Analysis: Again, Banksy has taken a pre-existing image - in this case an iconic photograph from Vietnam in 1972, of a girl - Kim Phuc - fleeing from a napalm attack on her village. The original photograph was taken by associated press photographer Nick Ut and has developed into a short hand for the atrocities of the Vietnam War. Banksy has isolated the image of the horror-stricken girl (originally surrounded by a few other clothed children and seven soldiers running down a road away from the site of the napalm attack) and flanked her with Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald. These two instantly recognizable, smiling characters, when juxtaposed with the image of Napalm Girl, give the image a very twisted and sinister feel.