The street artist Banksy has become a new obsession, as people are trying everything in their power to unmask who he really is. The artist has become so famous that every time the street art appears with his name, people can't wait but check it out immediately. Something about his talent makes him such a famous personality, and the fact that he is keeping himself anonymous adds to this excitement.
If his art were used in the exhibition or sale, it would fetch him more than £1 million, which is quite a huge deal for any street artist. His Valentine's art was a masterpiece. Plus, all his artwork has been breathtaking. So, who is Banksy ? What makes him such a popular figure ? And, why is he hiding from the world while showcasing his incredible talent ? Let's find out more about Banksy and his art.
I) Who Is He ? And, When Did He Make His First Appearance ?
Banksy was born in 1974 in Bristol, a city in southwest England. He started doing graffiti in the 90s. Between 1992 and 1994, he joined the street-art group Bristol's DrybreadZ Crew (DBZ). It is at this time that he is qualified as an artist of the "street-art" movement
So far, all we know is that Banksy is recognized as a street artist in the UK. People only realize that the wall art belongs to Banksy when he uploads it on his social media. He has over 11 million followers on his Instagram, where he has an account with the username Banksy. His social accounts are flooded with appreciation comments where people show how he is making the world more beautiful with his adorable and super creative street art canvas. At the same time, people display their curiosity about this mysterious artist. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts in finding the face behind this British artist, people couldn't reveal the person's actual identity.
How does he create beautiful art on the street walls remains a mystery. However, there is a similar pattern in all his artwork, making it easier for people to link it to Banksy. If you are not already familiar with Banksy, you will be surprised to know that this Graffiti artist is not a new name in the art world. He started his painting journey in 1990 in his hometown Bristol where he used to spray-paint the trains and street walls. His first art piece was about socio-political issues.
Graffiti work and street art are often seen as property damage and a crime (if done without permission of the authorities in the state). That could probably be why the artist decided to keep his identity anonymous to keep him out of trouble. Until 2000, his artwork was noticed on the street walls in Bristol, his hometown. Later, when this unknown artist started gaining popularity, his paintings were found all over the UK and in different corners of the world.
II) The Unique Style of Banksy
The specialty of Banksy is that all his paintings are drawn with stencils since it allows you to paint faster and more efficiently. He has been using stencils for all his graffiti artwork ever since he started wall artwork. If you have seen his early paintwork closely, you must have noticed that whoever the artist is, he is inspired by the French Graffiti artist named 'Blek le Rat.' The paintings look so similar to these French artists' artwork that people often get confused about whether Blek le Rat has drawn this art on the wall or Banksy.
In addition to street art, Banksy is known for creating some fabulous paintings and installation pieces. This brilliant artist is the owner of Dismaland, a theme park he has built on his own. If you are a fan of Banksy's artwork or have seen his paintings closely, it must not be hard for you to get the message he is trying to deliver through his work. One of his art in Blemingham's street wall has shown to raise the homelessness issue. The art features two reindeers and a bench where a person who looks homeless is resting. These reindeers seem to be pulling the man. He uploaded a video on this artwork on Instagram with the caption God Bless Birmingham.
Another popular art piece by Banksy is of a boy trying to catch the snowflakes, which is nothing but ash from a fire. The work is from 2018, raising the issue of pollution in the country. That is the specialty of this famous artist. Even though he has kept his identity anonymous, he makes sure that each piece of art delivers a profound and inspiring message, whether related to politics or an environmental issue.
III) Banksy Most Famous Artworks :
Girl With Balloon
This is Banksy's most famous work. He painted it in 2002 in London, in the South Banks district of London. In 2018, the artist managed a stroke of genius. It demonstrates the technique of graffiti stencil. A technique for which Banksy has become the most famous graffiti artist in the world.
This graffiti art depicts a young girl, whose hair and dress are blowing in the wind, reaching for a red, heart-shaped balloon that has slipped from her hands and is flying out. The red balloon is a symbol which many of us connect as a motif of childhood and hope. In this graffiti wall art, you see the girl losing a red balloon, as it can be viewed as a loss of innocence. The heart-shaped balloon has been recognized as a symbol for hope, dreams, aspirations or joy.
Mickey Mouse and Mc Donald accompany, all smiles Kim Phuc, the little Vietnamese girl, who, in 1972 was burned by an american Napalm bomb. Kim Phuc is then burned by the flames. An Associated Press photographer, Nick Ut, took a picture of the young girl naked. This one goes around the world and horrifies the planet.
"Napalm" by Banksy mixes montage and stencil. It was made in 1994. Kim Phuc stands out from the American mascots of globalization and capitalization. The street art painting "Napalm" by Banksy could denounce the unjustified wars of the West in other countries but also the consumer society.
Opened in August 2015, Dismaland is a temporary theme park created by Banksy with the collaboration of 58 other artists. Located in the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare, England, on the site of a former recreation area, the site is described by Banksy as "a family theme park unsuitable for children." Dismaland is a mix between "disneyland" and "dismal".
Composed of several attractions and settings inspired by the world of amusement parks such as duck fishing or the carousel, cynicism and criticism are everywhere in this participatory work, a critique of consumer society.
Love is in the Air
Love is in the Air, also known as the Flower Thrower, first appeared in 2003 as a large-scale stencil graffiti in Bethlehem, after the construction of the West Bank Wall . This Graffiti Art was painted on the wall of 760km that separates Israel and Palestine. Love is in the Air features a young man, dressed as an activist, wearing a baseball cap and a bandana to hide the lower half of his face. He is throwing a grenade or a molotov cocktail.
IV) The Value of Banksy's Artwork
There is no denying that Banksy has an eye for detail. Each piece is lovely and is painted so nicely that it is clear that Banksy is an experienced and probably a trained artist. He is not a random painter but a creative and talented person. His pieces are worth thousands of pounds, and people are willing to pay for the work he has done.
In 2008, one of his art pieces named "Keep it Spotless" was put up at auction and sold for 1.7 million dollars . Similarly, his artwork on the mobile home was worth 670,000 $. This price was only because of the painting. Banksy, however, doesn't want his artwork to be sold for such a whopping price. Sadly, most of his street artwork is painted over as soon as it appears (since wall art is often seen as vandalism in some cities). In some cases, other graffiti artists painted something new over Banksy's drawing.
That is why Banksy has started to cover the painting with a plastic sheet or other materials to ensure that his artwork remains on the street wall without getting re-painted or destroyed. Banksy doesn't only do the street arts, but he is famous for painting buildings and other structures, which has created quite an issue among the building owners. Since no person claims to own the paintings, they have to remove them or get their building painted by a known graffiti artist. Some people believe the work should be sold for money for charity purposes, while others think it is best left on the wall as it is.
Recently one of his famous paintings , "Love is in the Bin", also known as the "Girl with Balloon" , has been sold in auction at Sotheby’s (England) for 25.4 $ million. This piece of art became also famous because it destroys itself in live and became viral on social media and in the press worldwide.
V) What Did he Reveal About Himself ?
It is easy to guess that Banksy is a trained and experienced artist, but who is he? He gave an interview to Swindle Magazine in 2009 where he said that he belongs to a small city in England. He was ten years old when he saw a kid painting the streets of Bristol with spray paint, and he assumed that the kid had been to New York and was bringing the American street art style to Bristol.
Banksy admired street paint a lot, and he witnessed the streets getting painted with spray paint before it appeared on computers or magazines. He called this kid 3D, who soon stopped painting the roads with spray paint and joined the "Massive Attack" band. While it was good for the kid, it was quite a significant loss for the city since school kids loved the graffiti work and would paint the art on school buses and streets. That's all he said in the interview. Unfortunately, we could learn from his artwork and interviews that he is fond of spray paint and graffiti artwork. He also shared his childhood stories and what inspired him to become a street artist.
VI) Who can Banksy be ?
Tracking someone's identity is not as difficult as it may sound in the 21st century. However, Banksy has done a tremendous job at keeping his identity a top-secret. He has never come out in public or has revealed his true identity. But, it did not keep people from guessing his name. As mentioned above, people have made several attempts to identify his true personality, but it is still unknown.
While there have been many speculations around Banksy and his artwork, a few names that popped up many times include:
Robert Del Naja
Many people spotted a street artist in Melbourne, Australia and other parts of the country where Banksy's paintings are found. But, no one could confirm whether it was Banksy or a random artist. Banksy makes money by selling his art.
Some of his latest art pieces include the mask-themed painting done in the underground tube in London and another one in the hospital's building in May this year, gaining much attention from the locals and artists worldwide. He is trying to support the hospital staff and doctors who are giving their best in saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the world with their hard work. Hopefully, he will reveal his identity to the world and show his face to the artists who consider him their inspiration.
This article has allowed you to know more about the famous street artist Banksy and his work. We offer some paintings that were inspired by Banksy and his art , you can find them in our street art collection.
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