Thursday, March 3, 2011


Banksy a notorious British graffiti artist has been an influential figure in the art world. He has contributed to reviving street artand combining visual images with a powerfulmeaning. Banksy appealed to me because of his unconventional approach to art. His work has been seen all over the worldand his drawings and graffiti art are relevant to current political and social situations. The most compelling part is that Banksy’s identity remains anonymous, making his work even more mysterious and popular.

Banksy grew up in a smallcity in southern England. He was the son of a photocopier technician and trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s. Hiswork is compared to Blek le Rat, the renowned godfather of stencil graffiti art. Banksy’s work is influenced by le Rat’s style does some free hand drawing work and graphic design but his drawing are mostly done with stencil techniques. His explanationfor using this technique is to be able to work fast and avoid getting caught by the cops!

Location is key to Banksy’s work. He did some art in Palestine, where he worked on a wall project. It was interesting to see how work portrayed the barriers that society faces and the conversation he had while he was there (Parry 2005). One conversation was with an old man was –

Old man: You paint thewall, you make it look beautiful.

Banksy: Thanks

Old man: We don't want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall, go home.

The work he did in Palestine is depictedbelow - It dealswith issues of the wall acting a barrier

He has also done numerous works in London, in locations like the London zoo and British museum. Banksy is also a prominent in America. Some of his work is featured at the MOMA and Disneyland in California. He also received a recent Oscar nomination for his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. What drew me to his art was his ability to eliminate the line between language and art. Most people use art to convey to emotion, opposed to language, which we use to express ideas. Banksy effectively combines both (Fairey). Each of his work has a clear message and it makes his art meaningful. He chose graffiti art because of his goal to reclaim public spaces for public creation and imagination (Parry). His drawings are impressive in scale and it makes you wonder how he even managed to create them and I particularly enjoyed one of his quotes

“People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire theuse of a drainpipe to gain access.”

Below is an example of comment - on how old conventional communications have been transformed into modern means of communication

He is an artist that makes good use of space, his environment, and uses visual images to raise questions on valid social issues. He has been described as an inspiration in the art world and has contributed to starting a political and social movement with his street art.

Other examples of his thought provoking art -


Fairey, Shepard. "BANKSY." SWINDLE (2008).

Gregory, Paul Johnson. "Banksy British Graffiti Artist Creates Art with a Social Message." (2009).

Krimper, Michael. "The Rise of Street Art -Vandalism without a Face." Hydra (2010).

Parry, Nigel. "Well-known UK graffiti artist Banksy hacks the Wall." The Electronic Intifada (2005).

Wright, Steve. Bansy's Bristol. Bristol: Last Gasp, 2009.

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