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
Banksy’s Better Out Than In pieces in New York have met with some differing opinions. Many New Yorkers love them while others deem them acts of vandalism. However, with Ghetto for Life which appeared in the Bronx, the majority of residents found the work to be offensive saying that it helps to perpetuate stereotypes. It seems many have focused on the words and not the artwork which depicts a little boy spraying the words and being waited on by a butler. Banksy seems to be saying that the ‘ghetto’ image is just that – an image used for style purposes. That didn’t stop people flocking to see it and the building’s owner employed guards to protect it! Ghetto for Life location.
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.
By 1999, he was headed to London. He was also beginning to retreat into anonymity. Evading the authorities was one explanation—Banksy “has issues with the cops.” But he also discovered that anonymity created its own invaluable buzz. As his street art appeared in cities across Britain, comparisons to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring began circulating.
The people—and the apes and rats—he drew in these early days have a strange, primitive feel to them. My favorite is a piece that greets you when you enter the Pierced Up tattoo parlor in Bristol. The wall painting depicts giant wasps (with television sets strapped on as additional weapons) divebombing a tempting bunch of flowers in a vase. Parlor manager Maryanne Kemp recalls Banksy’s marathon painting session: “It was an all-nighter.”
Although this is widely believed to be a work of Banksy when it appeared outside a pub in Bristol and is supposedly one of Banksy’s most famous pieces, the ‘Panda With Guns’ is probably not a work of Banksy at all. Some people attribute it to a French artist by the name of Julien Fanton D’Andon, who purportedly produced it for a record label called ‘Bad Panda’. Whether or not this is a Banksy, the ‘Pandas with Guns” just cannot be left out of this list!
This particular Banksy lasted only 4 months from May 2008 to August 2008. It was created in Leake Street Tunnel (also known as Banksy Tunnel) a designated graffiti area. It was soon covered with other works, such is the ever changing nature of the tunnel. It is an ironic piece that showed ancient cave paintings being cleaned by a council worker, highlighting how art is often destroyed by those who don’t understand it. Is Banksy referencing the destruction of his own work?
Artwork description & Analysis: This work by Banksy refigures the iconic Impressionist painting Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lillies (1899) by Claude Monet. Monet's original reveals a tranquil scene of his own garden, with rich vegetation reflected in the calm water. Banksy has replicated Monet's original painting almost exactly, using the same materials as Monet, however Banksy has added two discarded shopping carts and a traffic cone to the pond.
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
Once again Banksy has used existing feature to enhance his work. Here the double yellow lines of the road are extended across the pavement and up the wall where they bloom into a flower. The pavement lines have been removed and the painter’s face is mostly obscured with newer graffiti, but the flower is still clear. Yellow Lines Flower Painter location.
Possibly one of the most recognisable Banksy artworks, Sweep it Under the Carpet appeared on a wall on Chalk Farm Road, North London in around 2006. It shows a woman dressed as a maid who is sweeping dirt under the cover of a brick wall. The piece is said to represent the reluctance of the western world to deal with global issues such as the AIDS epidemic, amongst others. Sweep it Under the Carpet – approx location
Banksy once characterised graffiti as a form of underclass "revenge", or guerilla warfare that allows an individual to snatch away power, territory and glory from a bigger and better equipped enemy. Banksy sees a social class component to this struggle, remarking "If you don't own a train company then you go and paint on one instead." Banksy's work has also shown a desire to mock centralised power, hoping that their work will show the public that although power does exist and works against you, that power is not terribly efficient and it can and should be deceived.
The mural was situated in the line of sight of a CCTV camera. In fact, Banksy managed to erect three stories of scaffolding under the cover of darkness to create the entire artwork in one night. This work aims to criticize the excessive surveillance (both from CCTV cameras in public spaces, as well as in other forms such as online) that has recently become a controversial issue both in the UK and abroad. Banksy has done other works that aim to "tease" security cameras, for instance by stenciling the words "what are you looking at?" on a blank wall faced by a CCTV camera.
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.
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