Banksy

Biography of Banksy

This once fringe street artist has risen to embody one of the most recognizable visual styles on the planet, yet despite boasting a legion of die-hard fans and being surrounded by a media circus Banksy manages to remain entirely anonymous. At a time when the internet unfolds every secret he is a genuine enigma and his continued anonymity only serves to further fuel the intrigue regarding his true identity. Focusing on social injustice and championing the difficulties of the economically disadvantaged against the corruption and double standards of the ruling class, Banksy combines social and political satire with subversive humor.

 

In 2006 he caused outrage by placing a life-sized Guantanamo Bay detainee in Disneyland, California. Highlighting the plight of terror suspects in the controversial detention center in Cuba, the effigy was complete with orange jumpsuit and handcuffs. It was a typically brazen and acerbic piece of guerilla artwork in a location which is heavily guarded and monitored at all times. Similar to Banksy's graffiti works, this work garnered worldwide coverage and gave a voice to many whose liberty had recklessly and perhaps unfairly been taken.

 

Starting out in Bristol in the early 1990s Banksy was part of the British graffiti subculture which was rooted in a militant stance of anti-establishment. What singles out Banksy from many of his spray paint-wielding contemporaries was his use of quick process stencils—an idea that came to him after hiding from the police under a garbage truck and seeing stenciled lettering. His output and the diversity of places he has left his mark is astonishing. In 2006 he even managed to place nine images on the Bethlehem Wall in Palestine, most famously of a girl floating over the wall with balloons. Each work soon became an instant hit and exploded virally on the internet.

 

Once a marginal figure, Banksy's silkscreen prints and stencil paintings now achieve record-breaking sums at big London auction houses and in the private market. In 2015 Banksy's temporary art project Dismaland was constructed in Weston-super-Mare on the west coast of England, which was believed to have boosted the local economy by as much as £20 million and even attracted the visit of long-term Banksy fan, Brad Pitt. Now a successful filmmaker and author, Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop, 2010 was a worldwide hit, further cementing his place at the pinnacle of the contemporary art scene. His urgency, simplicity, and humor continues to astound fans of street art and to win him a new and increasing critical acclaim. Truthful, uncompromising, and continually brazen, Banksy is an artist whose star only ever seems to be on the rise. 

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