Banksy; Public Remedy No. 1
“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”
What is art? A lot of know-it-all critics ranting and raving over something they do not understand? Is art the new Superbowl commercials? Maybe art is just something shocking, controversial and often containing some form of poop. Today it does not seem real art is exposed quiete as often as trivial, vain art with no ends other than to market a brand.
I believe art should be inspiring. Art should create the desire for more art. The early 90′s in Bristol, England There was a large underground graffiti scene establishing itself. This scene was a collective; creating not just paintings but an atmosphere of inspiration. Among this outfit of artists was a young painter that went by the name Banksy.
Banksy established himself pretty quickly among his colleagues with his work containing dark humor mixed with anti-establishment tones. Banksy makes heavy use of stencils in his work for speed purposes but he did not rely on them as much initially. In his early days Banksy often could not finish his work without being chased off by the cops. It wasn’t until one of these nights, after being chased through thorny bushes, jumping fences and hiding under a dump truck for hours with oil leaking onto him he realized he had to either be quicker or quit. It was at this moment he noticed a serial number on the underneath of the truck that had been stenciled on and he became aware of the solution to his problem.
Today Banksy’s identity is only known by a handful of people but ti is merely hinted at by everyone else. Over the years Banksy has become not only an artist in the realm of painting but also in evasion. Banksy has managed to evade being caught by the police his whole career as a graffiti artist. One of Banksy’s more notable evasions happened right in Disneyland. Banksy managed to sneak in a blow up doll, dress it as a Guantanamo prisoner and tie it to a fence within the amusement park.
Even though Banksy was successful once again at getting away his friend who was capturing photos of the stunt was apprehended by Disneyland’s secret police. After being swiftly taken away to an interrogation room somewhere in a dark corner of Disneyland, Banksy’s partner was searched and questioned for over two hours. Regardless of this intimidating situation Banksy’s true identity still remained safe and his friend did not crack under the pressure.
Today Banksy has made a name for himself, not just in England but around the world. His work is owned by people such as Brad pitt, Angelina Jolie and other high profile celebrities. Banksy has even managed to have a hand in one of The Simpsons safely guarded intros (thanks possibly to his acknowledgment of The Simpsons in one of his works). As usual, The Simpsons intro sticks to his anti-establishment style.
Some notable works by Banksy include paintings on The West Bank wall in Israel, London Zoo, American Museum of Natural History in New york and even hurricane stricken buildings in New Orleans. However, Banksy’s works of art are not limited to paintings. In late 2006 Banksy replaced over 500 copies of Paris Hilton’s debut cd at 48 different record stores in the UK with his own cover art and music remixes by Danger Mouse. Some of the music tracks were given titles such as “Why am I Famous?”, “What Have I Done?” and “What Am I For?” Several copies were actually purchased by the public and now go for over a $1,000 a piece on eBay. Other Banksy prop art include such things a A bloody telephone booth with an axe through it left on the streets of London, counterfeit money with pictures of Princess Diana rather than the Queen littered onto the streets from a building high above and even a painted elephant.
As controversial as Banksy is there is no question that he is inspiring. Banksy is an artist with his own message and has struggled to stay true to it. If it was not for the illegal medium of graffiti Banksy talen might have been wasted on advertising beer or something similar. In a world of talent he is among the few that stands out as someone who is actually passionate about what he does rather than how much it will profit him.
“Art is not like other culture because its success is not made by its audience. The public fill concert halls and cinemas every day, we read novels by the millions, and buy records by the billions. ‘We the people’ affect the making and quality of most of our culture, but not our art.”