Artwork description & Analysis: In this iconic image, two (seemingly male) police officers in full, typical British uniforms are depicted kissing, in what appears to be a loving embrace. This work was originally spray-painted on the side of the Prince Albert pub in Trafalgar Street near the downtown core of the city of Brighton. Before its creation, one of Banksy's associates approached the pub owner on his behalf to seek permission for the work. The pub owner says, "My first thought was, 'oh no'. I thought we'd get in loads of trouble for it." But to his delight, after its creation, a group of uniformed officers appeared in front of the pub to view the piece and proceeded to take pictures. In 2011, the piece was replaced with a copy protected by a Perspex case, while the original was flown to the United States to be sold at auction.
What size of artwork is correct for different kinds of furniture? That’s totally up to your design vision. As a general guideline, however, many interior decorators recommend shooting for art that occupies about two-thirds to three-quarters the size of your furniture. Large art tends to get noticed more than smaller pieces. What if you have a long sofa or sectional and can’t find any art that’s big enough? One idea is to create an art grouping. Two or three similarly-sized photographs feel like a single unit. When it comes to height, it’s customary to hang art at eye-level. That’s usually between 5 and 6 feet from the floor, although you can feel free to place it lower if it feels more natural for the space. That’s often the case in dining rooms.
As the feud developed, Banksy painted over work by King Robbo, one of London’s earliest graffiti writers. Painting over the work of a fellow graffiti writer was seen as unforgivable and Robbo’s crew responded by defacing the new Banksy. A tit-for-tat war ensued – even continuing after Robbo’s untimely death - as his crew continued to target Banksy works across the capital. Robbo’s largely urban, underground, working class team saw Banksy as a mainstream, middle class imposter.
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With tongue firmly planted in cheek, English graffiti artist and international prankster Banksy has managed to become one of the world's most recognized artists while remaining relatively anonymous. Staying true to the credos of street art, he's built a celebrated body of work, both permanent and impermanent, that utilizes satire, subversion, dark humor, and irony to create resonant social, political, and humanist messages for the masses on a populous and public level. His style is universally familiar, founded on a signature stencil aesthetic that has elevated him from mere man with a spray can to a highly creative artist in his own right. He is responsible for catapulting guerilla work into the mainstream as a viable form of art.
The crazy thing is that at the time we were trying to sell the house, but couldn’t sell it because of the graffiti. People went, “We love the house, but we’re not buying it with all that stuff on the side.” Then we had this bright idea of selling the Banksy and throwing the house in for free as a publicity stunt for the urban art gallery Red Propeller we were starting.
In April 2007, Transport for London painted over Banksy's image of a scene from Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction (1994), featuring Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta clutching bananas instead of guns. Although the image was very popular, Transport for London claimed that the graffiti created "a general atmosphere of neglect and social decay which in turn encourages crime" and their staff are "professional cleaners not professional art critics". Banksy painted the same site again and, initially, the actors were portrayed as holding real guns instead of bananas, but they were adorned with banana costumes. Some time later, Banksy made a tribute artwork over this second Pulp Fiction work. The tribute was for 19-year-old British graffiti artist Ozone who, along with fellow artist Wants, was hit by an underground train in Barking, east London on 12 January 2007. Banksy depicted an angel wearing a bullet-proof vest holding a skull. They also wrote a note on their website saying:
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."
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In October 2018, one of Banksy's works, Balloon Girl, was sold in an auction at Sotheby's in London for £1.04m. However, shortly after the gavel dropped and it was sold, an alarm sounded inside of the picture frame and the canvas passed through a shredder hidden within the frame, partially shredding the picture. Banksy then posted an image of the shredding on Instagram captioned "Going, going, gone...". After the sale, the auction house acknowledged that the self-destruction of the work was a prank by the artist. The prank received wide news coverage around the world, with one newspaper stating that it was "quite possibly the biggest prank in art history." Joey Syer, co-founder of an online platform facilitating art dealer sales, told the Evening Standard: "The auction result will only propel this further and given the media attention this stunt has received, the lucky buyer would see a great return on the £1.02M they paid last night, this is now part of art history in its shredded state and we'd estimate Banksy has added at a minimum 50% to its value, possibly as high as being worth £2m+." A man seen filming the shredding of the picture during its auction has been suggested to be Banksy. Banksy has since released a video on how the shredder was installed into the frame and the shredding of the picture, explaining that he had surreptitiously fitted the painting with the shredder a few years previously, in case it ever went up for auction. To explain his rationale for destroying his own artwork, Banksy quoted Picasso: "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge". (Although Banksy cited Picasso, this quote is usually attributed to Mikhail Bakunin.)  It is not known how the shredder was activated. Banksy has released another video indicating that the painting was intended to be shredded completely. The video shows a sample painting completely shredded by the frame and says: "In rehearsals it worked every time...".
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 started as a freehand graffiti artist in 1990–1994 as one of Bristol's DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ), with two other artists known as Kato and Tes. He was inspired by local artists and his work was part of the larger Bristol underground scene with Nick Walker, Inkie and 3D. During this time he met Bristol photographer Steve Lazarides, who began selling Banksy's work, later becoming his agent. By 2000 he had turned to the art of stencilling after realising how much less time it took to complete a work. He claims he changed to stencilling while hiding from the police under a rubbish lorry, when he noticed the stencilled serial number and by employing this technique, he soon became more widely noticed for his art around Bristol and London. He was the goalkeeper for the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls football team in the 1990s, and toured with the club to Mexico in 2001. Banksy's first known large wall mural was The Mild Mild West painted in 1997 to cover advertising of a former solicitors' office on Stokes Croft in Bristol. It depicts a teddy bear lobbing a Molotov cocktail at three riot police.
In February 2015 Banksy published a 2-minute video titled Make this the year YOU discover a new destination about his trip to Gaza Strip. During the visit he painted a few artworks including a kitten on the remains of a house destroyed by an Israeli air strike. ("I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website—but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens") and a swing hanging off a watchtower. In a statement to The New York Times his publicist said,
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A woman washing zebra stripes was painted by Banksy in the capital city of Mali, Timbuktu and shows a “naked” zebra standing by as his stripes are hung up to dry by an African lady. There appears to be little in the way of any obvious meaning to this piece. It is a playful piece, but maybe the fact that it appeared in the drought-ridden country of Mali and the absurdity of using water in such a frivolous way points to an issue that perhaps the western world could, and should, do more to help impoverished people in the developing world.
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.