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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.
He loves to provoke, shock even to disturb society and that is why his work is so important. Despite his ability to break the rules, he remains to this day a mystery since his true identity has never been revealed. In all likelihood, Banksy is a Street art graffiti artist from Bristol, England. Philanthropist, anti-war and revolutionary, the artist uses his art as a medium for communication to say loud and clear his dissatisfaction with certain social phenomena, certain political situations or outright certain decisions adopted by world leaders. Born tentatively in 1974, it was not until the 1980s that he began to handle the aerosol, after completing a butcher training. But it was between 1992 and 1994 he became truly a graffiti artist, as part of a group called the Bristol's DrybreadZ Crew (DBZ), assisting his colleagues Kato and Tes.
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.
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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.
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. 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.
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.
David Anslow, property owner: I had a house in Easton, Bristol – where Banksy used to hang out – which I was renting out to students. One day, one of the students phoned up to ask if his “graffiti artist friend” could do some artwork on the side. I thought it would be pretty cool but didn’t think much more about it. Years later, a friend of ours suddenly said, “Did you know you’ve got a Banksy on your house?” He showed me Banksy’s book, Wall and Piece, and there was our house, with a 32-foot mural on it, the full width of the building. It reminded me of Picasso’s Guernica.
Eclectic decor takes this idea of personal expression to its maximum potential. It’s bright, bold and unafraid of making a statement. If that describes your personality pretty well, then this might be the style for you. What kind of photographs and prints fall into the realm of the eclectic? There are virtually no limits. Photographs with slogans, wild color combinations and even things not usually considered artistic are all fair game. The idea is to give people a good idea of who you are and what you stand for. If you’re into fashion, for example, some possibilities might be close-ups of eyes and eye shadow, clothing sketches and abstract art with mirrored and metallic surfaces.
Shunning traditional galleries, Banksy hosted exhibitions of street art in unusual locations such as abandoned tunnels. Harking back to Blek le Rat’s attacks graffiti attacks on the Paris art world, Banksy took art out of what he saw as stuffy galleries and into the forgotten, seedy places that the art world ignored. “When you go to an art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires.” Banksy wanted art to be available to everyone.
When it comes to art, the word "print" can mean a lot of things. First, there's the real deal: lithographs, woodcuts, screenprints, and the like. Even though a printmaker might've produced 20 editions of such a work—that's the penciled-in 6/20 in the bottom corner you'll sometimes see—they also had to make the plate, block, or screen that it came from and then manually print each edition on a press. Sometimes they even tediously tear their own paper to get those amazing unfinished edges! So each one of their "prints" is considered an original work of art, and you'll have to pay for it accordingly. (This is why some original photography can be so expensive; you're actually buying a "silver gelatin print" that was first shot on a camera and then carefully crafted in a dark room.) If you can afford this kind of print, they're amazing pieces to display and collect and you'll be supporting storied artforms in the process. But the other kind of print is one that's specifically useful to know about if you're decorating on a budget, though it sometimes gets a bad rap: the digital reproduction.
The Barton Hill district of Bristol in the 1980s was a scary part of town. Very white—probably no more than three black families had somehow ended up there—working-class, run-down and unwelcoming to strangers. So when Banksy, who came from a much leafier part of town, decided to go make his first foray there, he was nervous. “My dad was badly beaten up there as a kid,” he told fellow graffiti artist and author Felix Braun. He was trying out names at the time, sometimes signing himself Robin Banx, although this soon evolved into Banksy. The shortened moniker may have demonstrated less of the gangsters’ “robbing banks” cachet, but it was more memorable—and easier to write on a wall.
On 27 April 2007, a new record high for the sale of Banksy's work was set with the auction of the work Space Girl and Bird fetching £288,000 (US$576,000) around 20 times the estimate at Bonhams of London. On 21 May 2007 Banksy gained the award for Art's Greatest living Briton. Banksy, as expected, did not turn up to collect his award and continued with his anonymous status. On 4 June 2007, it was reported that Banksy's The Drinker had been stolen. In October 2007, most of his works offered for sale at Bonhams auction house in London sold for more than twice their reserve price.
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.
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.