The Thekla is such a hub for Bristol’s music and creative community that it’s almost certain Banksy would have come to gigs and parties here. He also had his first Bristol exhibition at the nearby Severnshed bar, so was definitely spending time in the vicinity. There’s always been talk that there were also a couple of his famous rat stencils inside the venue at some point, but they were long gone when I arrived in 2006.
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The piece can be read in many ways. In one respect, Banksy is advocating for a sexual-identity accepting society by placing icons of authority in a pro-gay position. His use of policemen, rather than ordinary citizens, is intriguing, because the very subjects of his tender portrayal are often the ones to working to eradicate his vandalism. While some believe that he is poking fun at policemen, showing them in a vulnerable, intimate moment, others read the work more positively, as showing a human side to the police force, and emphasizing the strong bonds that exist on the police force between partners and teammates. The work is an undeniable testament to Banksy's use of irony to challenge us to build a bridge of understanding between expected enemies of ideology.
Graffiti Is a Crime is the first of Banksy’s pieces from his month long ‘residency’ in New York City in October 2013. The piece incorporates his distinctive stencil technique and pokes fun at the law by incorporating an anti-graffiti sign. However, within hours of it being posted on Banksy’s Instagram profile the sign which played an integral part of the piece had been stolen and by the next day city officials had painted over the work. The piece was located in the city’s Allen Street. Graffiti is a Crime location
The frame would presumably have been rather heavy and thick for its size, something an auction house specialist or art handler might have noticed. Detailed condition reports are routinely requested by the would-be buyers of high-value artworks. Unusually, this relatively small Banksy had been hung on a wall, rather than placed by porters on a podium for the moment of sale. And the artwork was also the last lot in the auction.
The theme of weapons and children is a recurring one in Banksy’s pieces. This child soldier bearing a machine gun appeared in Westwood, Los Angeles in 2011 on a wall of “Urban Outfitters” although it didn’t last long before it was vandalised with paint. The piece is no doubt an attempt to highlight the corrupted innocence of children and it is not uncommon to see children brandishing guns and involved in conflicts in highly volatile parts of the world. Child Soldier location
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Choosing a tag or graffiti name was common in this subculture to brand work and to avoid arrest. This is the name that he has stuck with since. The Bristol street artists adopted graffiti-style pseudonyms and painted in collaborative groups or ‘crews’. His earliest influence was musician and graffiti writer 3D, one of the pioneers who brought free-hand, spraycan-style graffiti writing to the UK from the New York subways.
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The last time I hit this spot I painted a crap picture of two men in banana costumes waving hand guns. A few weeks later a writer called Ozone completely dogged it and then wrote "If it's better next time I'll leave it" in the bottom corner. When we lost Ozone we lost a fearless graffiti writer and as it turns out a pretty perceptive art critic. Ozone – rest in peace.
Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director. 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. Banksy's work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Banksy says that he was inspired by 3D, a graffiti artist who later became a founding member of the English musical group Massive Attack.