Apart from just being an awesome graffiti artist Banksy, floats defiantly within the realms of activism and anarchism. The illusive messenger regularly sheds an ironic spotlight on the social, political and economic misdemeanours of society all the while sticking two aerosol cans up to the “man!”
Hailing from Bristol, Banksy developed an interest in graffiti from the age of 14 after seeing the work of fellow graffiti artist 3D (DEE). 3D’s work proved very influential in moulding Banksy into the graffiti connoisseur we see today or don’t see (if you know what I mean).
It was documented that Banksy felt empowered painting graffiti on public spaces, gaining a sense of ownership at his newly founded means of self-expression. In the eyes of the law, graffiti is deemed as vandalism carrying the risk of arrest. Knowing that his art splattered in the face of the law, gave Banksy an enormous rush like no other. One that he couldn’t let go of.
Carefully cultivating a style synonymous with controversy and sophistication was what catapulted Banksy into the public and political consciousness. Walking a path fraught with risk and little reward; Banksy endeavoured with his graffiti – based convictions, although often finding himself demonised by the media and the general public. Poking his satirical finger at the status quo did eventually win over his critics who no longer viewed his work as just childish vandalism but as reflective homages to social injustices.
If we take a more detailed look at the themes that run through Banksy work, you’ll notice nuisances alluding to peace, love and justice are usually prevalent in some way shape or form (or stencil). Although Banksy remains (and still does to this very day) anonymous, people from all walks of life can still identify with his subject matter or to an extent form their own conclusion. It is the open ended-ness of Banksy art that sets him apart from his peers not too much retaining a largely unknown status.
With the large majority of his work bought and sold for six-figure sums, Banksy work is truly a hot commodity. Paradoxically however, the graffiti god chooses not to bask in the riches that waft his way, condemning the commercialisation of his art. This selflessness would appear to many as a clever marketing ploy to build ‘Brand Banksy,’ but seemingly comes from a genuine place of love for his work and contempt for the system.
Now; Banksy stands on the precipice of the art world, his fame and fan base meteoric. With such a bright and beaming spotlight cast on his work, the longing to lift the veil on his identity grows ever present. For how much longer will Banksy remain anonymous and If he is exposed will his crafty career go with it? I for one hope not. Long live brand Banksy.
If you are a Banksy fan and enjoy graffiti art, then join us on one of our street art London tours, where you will see work from both the most well-known and obscure artists in the capital.