Famed British graffiti god Banksy continues to cause a ruckus in the art world. Defiant and provocative in equal measure, the enigmatic artist has amassed not only a colossal following but a colossal amount of wealth too. But just how much is Banksy worth and how does he even spend his secret stash? These questions alongside a whole host of others are what this article looks to uncover, as we delve deep into the hidden bank vaults of Banksy.
According to an article published by Forbes in 2013 entitled “Banksy: The $20 Million Graffiti Artist Who Doesn’t Want His Art to be worth anything,” the Notorious A.R.T (ist) is worth big bucks! Though a speculative estimation at best, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in fact it did exceed this mammoth amount. For well over two decades Banksy has been cultivating a distinctive craft – managing to bring the social, political and economic skeletons out of their closets and into the public arena. Darkly humorous at times, Banksy art is comparative (in my mind) to that of George Orwell’s written candour and Terry Gilliam’s cinematic prowess. Banksy’s work has always had a dystopian ‘twinge’ about it, under all the colours and connotations I feel lay more ominous nuisances – or maybe I’m just being paranoid. Well regardless of how we may feel about Banksy brazen artwork, the fact still remains that people are still willing to bid six-figure sums to get their mitts on a piece of brand Banksy.
“I can’t believe you moron’s actually buy this s**t!” Banksy pulls no punches (or paintbrushes) when it comes to the commercialisation of his work. His blatant distaste for financial greatness begs the question how the hell does Banksy earn a living!? Actually through a number of different ways:
Commissions – Rich so & so’s including Hollywood A-listers like Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie are among a select handful of people who have managed to persuade Banksy to produce personally commissioned pieces.
Merchandise –Banging your head against a brick wall (2001), Existencilism (2002), Cut It Out (2004) and Wall and Piece (2005) are (no not emo band names) but a list of the graffiti artist’s bibliographic catalogue. These books along with a number of other officially distributed pieces have circulated around the globe, no doubt bringing in a pretty penny or two.
With Banksy artistic pull as strong as ever, it would seem that the money train will continue to chug along for a while yet. The outlandish, courageous and ultimately slick style of Banksy seems to resonate really well with a lot of people including the likes of activists, publicists and the disingenuous art dealer looking to get rich quick. Banksy’s standoff-ish approach to money only strengthens people’s respect and interest in the artist’s ambiguous activities. When the fated day arrives (if it arrives) that we can finally put a face to the name, you can expect some big cheques to get cashed!
For a further insight into the politics behind the artwork of Banksy and a host of other artists, join us on one of our street art London tours. You will see a side of London rarely seen and some astonishing art work!