Banksy Identikit: Who Is the Most Mysterious Street Artist in the World?
As one of the most controversial street artists in the world, Bansky’s work has grown into a subculture of its own. His stroke and style is unmistakable. His political statements and disruptive visions have sparked crucial conversations around the world in vital historical moments.
Banksy weighes in on heavy topics like terrorism, capitalism and political power, levying criticism through his art. With the perfect blend of mystery, style, cynicism and criticism, Banksy transcends the world of street art, establishing himself, whether intentionally or not, as a fixture in popular culture.
Unexpected is one of the words that can be associated with the artist as his works can arrive overnight and appear around any corner. Despite speculation over the years, Banksy’s true identity has never been revealed. Very little is known about the artist, as he continues to maintain anonymity and refuses interviews with journalists. It is certainly known that he hails from Bristol, England, as most of his works are present in the city and return as a continuous cycle.
Some believe Banksy’s true identity is that of artist Robert Gunningham. This hypothesis has been all but confirmed by scholars at Queen Mary University of London, but we can’t be sure because he has gone as far as to keep his identity hidden from even his own family. Another theory is that Banksy is not a single person, but a collective of artists working under the same mission, due to the variety of artwork present in the area.
Early Days in Graffiti Art
Before utilizing stencils to speed up production, Banksy preferred freehand on city walls. His career began by admiring and recycling works and ideas from other street artists, such as Blek Le Rat, and joining the DryBreadZ Crew. At the age of 18 he almost got caught by the police for vandalizing. hence the decision to use stencils. From walls, to fire hydrants, street signs and more, the city is his canvas
His rise to fame began in the early 2000s when works starting appearing in between Bristol and London, incorporating elements of dark humor, political criticism and social philosophy.
Maturation of the Artist
The strength of Banksy lies in his social commentary with his skillful use of symbolism to his calculated choice of location for a piece. He made the decision to travel to Palestine, specifically the barrier in the West Bank. In this part of the world, where freedom has been restricted, Banksy created a multitude of works, focused heavily around escapism, hypocrisy and war.
In 2005, the ever-controversial street artist hacked off a piece of the Israeli West Bank barrier and used it as the focal point of a new piece: a treasure hunt.
A secret word was written on the underside of the rock. Thatword was “SPIKE”. A press release stated that Banksy hid SPIKE among the landscape and that the first person to find the rock and email the secret word to [email protected] would become the proud owner of a certified original Banksy artwork.
The Spike artwork has been digitized by Valuart and is available for purchase in NFT form.
An Unconventional Artist
Banksy is one of the rare street artists to become a household name. His pieces, Kissing Coppers, Girl with Balloon and Monkey Parliament, are iconic.
His method of selling the works is also unconventional. In 2013, he disguised himself as a street vendor and put his works up for sale, for a price of $60. Only a few pieces were purchased, which later turned out to be worth a fortune.
In August 2015, he and a few other artists created Dismaland, a horrifying reimagining of the famous Disney-branded park. Bansky’s largest open-air work was a combination of irony, satire and all of his baggage.
Banksy Leaves His Mark
Banksy is able to capture the hearts and minds of all generations. His art is complex and at the same time leaves a mark and is hard to swallow. What he represents is extremely rare and to be appreciated, as the artist continues to fight for issues that affect us all and that we should be proud of. Banksy will continue to mark the future and represent the ills of the world.