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.
Witty and subversive, these new Banksy works targeted political hypocrisy and social injustice. In a 2001 Herald Scotland interview he summed it up: “There is a side of my work that wants to crush the whole system, leaving a trail of the blue and lifeless corpses of judges and coppers in my wake, dragging the city to its knees as it screams my name. Then there is the other darker side.”
The identity of the artist remains a secret. In 2008, the newspaper The Mail on Sunday suggested that Banksy was in fact Robin Gunningham, who was born in Bristol in the west of England and dropped out of private school at age 16 to dabble in street art, a theory for which academic researchers have found corroboration. Banksy and the Gunningham family in Bristol have denied the connection.
The Mild Mild West (1999) Pulp Fiction Gorilla in a Pink Mask Bombing Middle England Girl with Balloon (2002) Bomb Hugger Ballerina with Action Man Parts Parachuting Rat (2003) Untitled (2004) Fragile Silence Well Hung Lover (2006) Self Portrait Space Girl and Bird The Drinker One Nation Under CCTV (2008) Forgive Us Our Trespassing Cardinal Sin (2011) Slave Labour (2012) Better Out Than In (2013) Art Buff (2014) Spy Booth (2014) The Son of a Migrant from Syria (2015) Civilian Drone Strike (2017) Love is in the Bin (2018)
Girl and a Soldier is one of the 2007 pieces that Banksy put up on a wall in Bethlehem. The innocent little girl is seen frisking an armed soldier in a stark reversal of roles. This along with other images on the wall were intended to promote the annual Santa’s Ghetto exhibit. The piece is still visible although somewhat faded.Girl and a Soldier location
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Bubble Slide Girl was painted on the wall of a youth club in Hackney, East London in February 2008. It depicts a little girl using a drain pipe as a slide while blowing bubbles. The image shows the girl adapting to her surroundings and finding a playground in an unlikely place, just as society continues to adapt to difficulties in the world around us. Unfortunately this particular example of Banksy’s work has now been removed with only a faint outline still visible. Bubble Girl location
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This piece depicts a likeness of Charles Manson hitchhiking. It appeared close to Archway Tube in 2005, but it became the target of rival ‘Team Robbo’ who defaced the piece. It was later semi restored by cleaning off Robbo’s addition, but this led to it being painted out completely and eventually the decision was made to remove the piece completely.
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.
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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 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.
This piece plays on the notion that the grass may be greener, and the landscape (perhaps environmental, perhaps political) may be better on the other side of this large barrier (although we know that it isn't). The artist may also be suggesting that a better political landscape could only emerge if the barrier were destroyed. By including children in this, and several others of the murals on the wall, the artist forces us to consider the toll that the local conflict takes on the innocent. The viewer is even more strongly implicated in the work through the direct gaze of the children.
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