Banksy is well known for his use of rats and this particular example discovered in Wall street in 2008 is a great example. In a play on the famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette, he proclaimss “let them eat crack” in commentary on the public outrage at how financial matters were being handled around the time. Needless to say it was soon painted over!
One of Banksy’s more ‘meaningful’ artworks, this was discovered in Fitzrovia (London) in April 2011. It features a rat with red paint on his paw and a paw print on the wall next to him. He stands under the phrase ‘If Graffiti Changed Anything It Would Be Illegal’. It appears to be a swipe at the government due to its reference to an Emma Goldman quote: ‘If voting ever changed anything, it would be illegal’. She campaigned for Women’s rights and voting, and Banksy could be highlighting the fact that each individual vote may rarely change anything. If Graffiti Changed Anything It Would Be Illegal location.

Banksy is no stranger to controvery, but sometimes it is not the pieces of his art you would expect that prove to be the most divisive. Tox is one of those pieces. In June 2011, graffiti lover Daniel Halpin, aka Tox was convicted of tagging multiple locations over a three year period. The prosecution mocked him as ‘no Banksy’ due to a lack of artistry in his tagging. In response Banksy put up the piece which shows a little boy writing ‘Tox’ in bubbles. Opinion is split as to whether this is a show of solidarity or being used to poke fun at Halpin. Location of Tox.

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This “Snorting Copper” stencil began appearing from 2005 in several places in London, including behind Waterloo Station (Leake Street) as well as in Shoreditch (Curtain Street). The artworks also included several miles of paint “dribble” which trailed through the city and led to the stencil representing a ‘line’ of coke. This piece by Banksy is unquestionably a dig at the immorality and corruption sometimes prevalent in the police force. Perhaps not too surprisingly, this piece was removed. Snorting Copper – approx location (Leake Street)

This graffiti piece of a police sniper crouching on top of a building with a boy standing behind him about to give him a loud surprise courtesy of a paper bag was visible in Bristol for several years and could be seen opposite the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Bristol Children’s Hospital buildings. In 2012 it was defaced and eventually replaced with another graffiti artwork of the Queen masquerading as a David Bowie alter ego, which many thought (incorrectly) to be a Banksy work but was in fact produced by a local Bristol artist. This latter piece is shown in the location view. Banksy Police Sniper 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
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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.
By substituting a weapon with a bunch of flowers, Banksy is advocating peace instead of war, and he opted to install this message of peace in a high-conflict area. The work also carries the message that peace comes with active hard work. The bouquet of flowers in this work, in addition to symbolizing peace, life, and love, may also be understood as commemorating lost lives in an age old religious conflict. It is a fine example of Banksy's use of art to relay messages of social importance.
Banksy is no stranger to controvery, but sometimes it is not the pieces of his art you would expect that prove to be the most divisive. Tox is one of those pieces. In June 2011, graffiti lover Daniel Halpin, aka Tox was convicted of tagging multiple locations over a three year period. The prosecution mocked him as ‘no Banksy’ due to a lack of artistry in his tagging. In response Banksy put up the piece which shows a little boy writing ‘Tox’ in bubbles. Opinion is split as to whether this is a show of solidarity or being used to poke fun at Halpin. Location of Tox. 

Many works that make up the Better Out Than In series in New York City have been defaced, some just hours after the piece was unveiled.[185][186] At least one defacement was identified as done by a competing artist, OMAR NYC, who spray-painted over Banksy's red mylar balloon piece in Red Hook.[187] OMAR NYC also defaced some of Banksy's work in May 2010.[188][189]
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The cleverest thing about Banksy’s Girl and Mouse (also known as Girl on Stool) is the little mouse. The natural decay of the masonry has been used by adding a tail and ears. The piece was created by Banksy on a visit to New Orleans in 2008 along with many others in the city. This piece is still visible although it is fairly faded and the girl has had other graffiti tagged over her. Girl and Mouse location.
Originally painted close to the Houses of Parliament in London, the original version of Banksy’s Soldiers Painting the CND sign was confiscated for allegedly breaking laws regarding protests in this area. It has been suggested that it represents the repression of free speech as well as acting as an anti-war protest. The piece was recreated and displayed in a collection at the Tate Britain gallery in 2007.
At the heart of his newer pieces was the idea of ‘Brandalism’ – a combination of ‘brand’ and ‘vandalism’ borrowed from US punk culture. Copying the techniques and language of advertising through slogans and simple images, Banksy's work appeared in clever public locations and attacked brands from Tesco to Nike. Each new work became a newsworthy event and the myth of Banksy as a masked, anonymous Robin Hood-type character poking fun at the powers-that-be began to emerge.

Banksy is well known for his use of rats and this particular example discovered in Wall street in 2008 is a great example. In a play on the famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette, he proclaimss “let them eat crack” in commentary on the public outrage at how financial matters were being handled around the time. Needless to say it was soon painted over!


I Remember When All This Was Trees caused a great deal of controversy when it appeared on the derelict Packard auto-mobile plat in Detroit. There had been ongoing debates over who was responsible for the costs of cleaning up the abandoned site so it probably should not have come as a surprise that the appearance of the Banksy also sparked debates surrounding ownership. Ultimately the piece was removed and can now be seen on display at the 555 Gallery. l Remember When All This Was Trees 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.[190]
In March 2010, the work Forgive Us Our Trespassing was displayed at the London Bridge in conjunction with Art Below an arts company that put on art shows on the London Underground. The work was censored by the Transport for London (TfL), forbidding display of the work with its halo, because of the prevalence of graffiti in the underground.[87] It was displayed without the halo over the boy's head, but after a few days the halo was repainted by a graffitist, so the TfL disposed of the poster. This decline went through the press and several articles were published remarking on the progress of the poster.[87][88]
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Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director.[1] His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.[2] Banksy's work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians.[3] Banksy says that he was inspired by 3D, a graffiti artist who later became a founding member of the English musical group Massive Attack.[4]
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Banksy, who "is not represented by any of the commercial galleries that sell his work second hand (including Lazarides Ltd, Andipa Gallery, Bank Robber, Dreweatts etc.)",[67] claims that the exhibition at Vanina Holasek Gallery in New York City (his first major exhibition in that city) is unauthorised. The exhibition featured 62 of their paintings and prints.[68]
This was one of Banksy’s largest pieces, appearing in London in 2008. How he managed to pull this off is still something of a mystery because he erected 3 storeys of scaffolding (behind a security fence) seemingly under the watchful gaze of a CCTV camera, which was positioned just to the right of this shot. The message of the graffiti is heavily ironic, given the context. It has since been removed. One Nation Under CCTV location
Banksy’s ‘Gangsta Rat’ character has appeared at various locations, but perhaps the most well documented ‘Gangsta Rat’ is the one in the picture here, which was first spotted at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London in 2006. The rat, who is indeed looking rather ‘gangster’ with his chain and baseball cap, was later sold at auction. Gangsta Rat location (approximate).
The condemning of street art as illegal vandalism, and its frequent removal, has been the focus of many other works by Banksy. But on the other hand, the fact that many of his works get removed shortly after their creation adds to the excitement and fanaticism that surrounds Banksy's work. Banksy biographer Will Ellsworth-Jones wrote in 2013 that Banksy "is an artist who has got people running around the city desperate to see his work before it gets painted over."
Old Skool has always been a firm favorite amongst fans of Banksy’s work. The piece was situated in London’s Clerkenwell Road and showed old people engaging in the type of loitering usually expected from young people! There was some degree of mystery surrounding the piece in 2008 when it was painted over and replaced with a cut out stencil saying “collected” There is some debate as to whether or not the work was removed from the wall or painted over.
A Banksy called Mobile Lovers appeared on the door of a cash-strapped Bristol boys’ club. A row broke out when the council claimed ownership. Banksy intervened when he wrote to the club to support their claim and the club later sold the door for £400,000 which saved it from closure. Bansky's art can now cause tension when it appears in communities as locals see them as gifts to their area – if anyone should profit from selling a Banksy it should be them.
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