The Art of Banksy
By Shilpa Shah
Banksy is an English Graffiti Artist, yet pseudo-anonymous. He is a native of Yate, near Bristol. He was born and brought up in Bristol, England in 1974. In the beginning he started as a freehand artist of graffiti. As a beginner, he always used stencils. His first work that attracted attention of many artists from Ohio and the UK was "Walls on Fire. " By 2000, he decided to work with stencils because this art was less time consuming than others were.
Banksy's identity will forever be unknown to the world. But his work is very prolific, witty, and subversive. This makes it not so easy to forget his paintings. This graffiti artist decorates walls, zoos, and bridges of cities and towns across the world. His art works portray political, ethical, and cultural aspects of the society, often reflecting irony. His vandalism began in Paris in 1981, where he combined graffiti writing with exceptional stenciling technique like that of Blek le Rat.
Banksy's stenciled graffiti's have humorous and attractive images, and sometimes with slogans as well. He always conveys a message through his images. They are usually pro-freedom, anti-war, anti-establishment or ant-capitalist related. The subjects of his graffiti are often rats, monkeys, elderly, children, police officers, and soldiers. He also designs stickers and makes sculptors. He was also responsible for Blur's 2003's album 'Think Tank's' cover art.
Banksy's work have also been exhibited and bought by celebrities like Christina Aguilera. He has stenciled Mona Lisa in green with paint that dripped from her eyes. This mater piece was sold for 57, 600 pounds. In the year 2007, Banksy made a new record by selling his work, 'Space girl and bird' for 288, 000 pounds.
Besides these, there are many other art pieces that are high profile and classic art pieces of Banksy.
• At London Zoo, he painted, 'We are bored of fish' in a penguin enclosure, which had a height of seven foot.
• At Bristol zoo Banksy wrote, 'I want out. This place is too cold. Keeper smells. Boring. Boring. Boring' for the elephants.
• Banksy's nine paintings on the Israeli West Bank barrier were exceptionally different.
Some of Banksy's images rose controversies also.
• Banksy's painting of Mona Lisa with a smiling face in yellow, was hung by Banksy in at Louvre in Paris.
• Diane Shakespeare and Peter Gibson of Keep Britain Tidy said that Banksy's street paintings were nothing but vandalism.
• Banksy's portable toilets made of plastic that resembled Glastonbury Festival's Stonehenge rose controversy.
Although Banksy's paintings and images have arose controversies, art books of his images have been published. 'Banging your head against a brick wall', 'Existencilism', 'Cut it out' and 'wall and piece' are few books that display his paintings. Every day you take a narrow lane with nothing but walls. But one fine day if you notice an image of a nude man hanging from a window, you ought to notice that. This has bought fame and money to Banksy. Who does not want that? Yet, he is anonymous.
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Who is Banksy?
By J Leason
He is believed to have been born in the year 1974 and started graffiti during the late 1980s.
There are little facts available about him but his works are all over the world. His works are very amusing and his personality just shines through in his work. The art shows a satirical side of politics, culture and ethics. He uses a stenciling style when he does his graffiti work. It can be said that he does work for the sake of doing art. He does not sell pictures of his graffiti or do exhibitions in commercial art galleries.
There was much movement and hype with the Bristol underground scene. Banksy was influenced and inspired by local artists. In 1992-1994, he was a freehand artist and he worked with other artists and writers like Kato and Tes.
After a few years, he made enormous graffiti on walls beside the work of Inkie, a graffiti legend. Banksy made "Walls on Fire". There was a weekend long event that established his name in the European graffiti scene. The event magnetized several graffiti artists all over UK and Ohio.
In 2000, he discovered that he could make artworks faster when he used stenciling. His stenciling techniques are very distinctive. He expresses his humor by combining funny images of people and animals with striking slogans. These are clearly shown in his work.
The messages and concepts conveyed by his work are usually anti-war and anti-capitalist. Then in 2001, he went to the land down under and collaborated with the artist James DeWeaver.
In 2003, there was a show called "Turf War", Banksy painted on animals. This has raised animal rights activists to action. A woman even chained herself in protest.
Banksy is known to make challenges in art.
He subverted Monet's Water Lily Pond, and made it his own by adding litter and a shopping trolley on the painting. Since, he already subverted a great artist's work, he made British spoof notes.
He changed Queen Elizabeth's head with the head of Princess Diana's head. That was not all he changed. He changed "Bank of England" to "Banksy of England", showing that no only can he express himself in drawing, but also in words.
He was later held a vandalizing extravaganza in Los Angeles, his exhibition was called 'Barely Legal'. He made art works depicting Queen Victoria as a lesbian and made skill-screen prints following Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe style. He also did his own version of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. His works were a success and sold more than they should.
In 2007, his works were auction in Sotheby's auction house. A work reached £102,000. His other works also sold for huge sums. As a reaction for his success Banksy posted another artwork in his website. It was a picture of people buying his works from the auction house with a message saying, 'I Can't Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit."
Banksy earned an award for Art's greatest living Briton. Since, he does art for art's sake and his a very recluse person; he did not collect his award. His actions and art speak for themselves; it is a reflection of what a magnificent artist is.
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