“Theres nothing more dangerous than someone who wants to make the world a better place.”– Banksy
In our society it seems as though people like to dig up all we can on someone and then we put them on some pedestal only to tear them back down again and rip them into shreds. When I began this post and was doing my research I was dumb founded by the negative back lash that Banksy gets. I started to go in on the haters, then I thought better of it. So I decided that we are not going to give “them” our time or energy. We are not going to try to pry into his personal life. It is honestly none of our business. Here we will not allow such nonsensical nonsense. Here we give props where props are due. Banksy has done alot for the street art community and for society as a whole and I think this should be our focus for this weeks artist of the week post. So let’s jump in shall we…
” If you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask. If you want to be honest then you have to live a lie.”– Bankksy
The first thing that I want to bring to your attention regarding Banksy and his political activision is the fact that he bought a motor yacht, painted it bright pink and uses it to rescue refugees attempting to reach Europe from North Africa. The vessel was named Louise Michel after a French feminist anarchist. On a random Thursday in Aug of 2020 it rescued 89 people in distress. They had already assisted at this time in two other rescues involving a total of 105 people.
The crew is made up of European activists with long histories in search and rescue. Pia Klemp who is Captian has made it clear that Banksy’s involvement id limited to providing financial support. ” Banksy won’t pretend to know better than us how to run a ship, and we won’t pretend to be artist’s.”
Banksy has raised over 40 million dollars for charity in the last 20 years. From the beginning Banksy has sought to serve a social purpose. Art dealers and property owners have been criticized endlessly for tearing apart walls to remove and sell Banksy works. Not only so that they profit off an uncompensated artists works, but also for preventing the public from seeing and enjoying the artists works in the context that they were intended to be seen.
Starting with this piece for charity ,in 2014 Banksy painted a mural on the doors of a youth club in Bristol. The works called mobile lovers was confiscated but then later returned to the owner of the youth club and then sold for an undesclosed amount. The sale was for over $400,000 and all proceeds went to the club to help sustain it
” A lot of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves.”– Banksy
In 2017 Banksy drew Civilian Drone Strike, depicting three drones bombing a house as a girl watches. This artwork sold for $200 thousand dollars at an auction. Which raised money to oppose an arms fair taking place in London.
” Nothing is black and white, and there is no purity and there is no such thing as justice.”– Banksy
In 2018 Banksy sold a piece of works titled How Heavy it Weighs for the charity Choose Love – Help Refugees. He announced on Instagram that he was putting his sculpture featuring an overloaded remote-control boat to help raise money for the charity. The artwork ariginally appeared in Dasmaland, Banksy’s Bemusement park project. After the theme park was dismantled , all the wood and structural elements were donated by the artist to The Jungle refugee camo in Calais to build refugee shelters.His campaign raised as much as 90,000 for the cause.
” The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by peple breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.”– Banksy
In 2018 he dedicated a mural for Bataclan Theature in Paris. A year later the piece that was said to be worth millions was stolen and removed with angle grinders by a group of theives along with several other Banksy artworks that appeared around Paris. Finally in 2020 the lost artwork which is estimated to be worth millions was found by the Italian police in a farmhouse in Abruzzo region, near the Adriaric Coast.
” I want to live in a world created by art, not just decorated with it.”– Banksy
In 2019 Banksy created a powerful mural at Christmas in Birmingham. It depicted two reindeers pulling a bench with a homeless man named Ryan on it.On Banksy’s Instagram he showed unsuspecting locals giving Ryan food and drinks. Banksy wrote God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars, and a lighter- without ever asking him for anything. After people defaced it and it was sold for 2,300 at fellowship auctioneers with all proceeds going to help homeless people in the UK.
” At this time of year it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity- the lies, the corruption, the abuse.”– Banksy
Also in 2019 Banksy sold the Love Welcomes project. He designed floor mats that were then hand stitched from life vests found on the local beaches by women in the Greek refugee camps. This inniative has been helping refugees to earn wage and re-discover their dignaty while at the camps. The welcome mats were sold with all profits going towards supporting the camps and creating more jobs for women. Protecting and sustaining families and supporting these important serices within the communities.
” I like to think I have the guts to stand up anonymously in all western democracy and call for things no one else believes in like peace and justice and freedom.”– Banksy
He donated one of his works called Game Changer to the South Hampton General Hospital in May of 2021. The painting sold for 16.8 million dollars. All the proceeds went to protect the well being of the hospital, patients and its staff.
” Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world I can’t even finish my second apple pie.”– Banksy
In July 2020 Banksy donated three oil paintings spot lighting the European migrant crisis to raise money for a hospital in Bethleham. The proceeds for these paintings around 2.23 million dollars and were donated to the Arab Society for rehabilitation and will be used to build a new acute stroke unit.
” A lot of people never use their initiative because no one ever told them to.”– Banksy
Banksy’s film Exit through the Gift Shop is a documentary film produced by him. It has Thierry Guetta a Los Angeles based Frenchman at center stage as he began his journey filming underground street artists. It depicts how Thierry tried to make a documentary from his tapes, Key word here is tried, his little documentary looked as though a two year old child got ahold of the remote control and just began flipping through the channels. It had no real rhyme or reason to it. After he and Banksy discussed the film it was decided that Banksy would work on the documentary and Banksy sent Theirry off to try his hand at some street art. This film shows how Banksy turned the camera around off of him and back onto Thierry.
” All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?”– Banksy
It shows Thierry’s journey from being a shop owner , to then trying to make a documentary, to then becoming Mr. Brainwash the ” artist “. Thierry was so crazy and out ragouse that those who watched the film thought for sure that Thierry was a prank by Banksy. However Banksy insists that Thierry is not a prank and the film is authentic. The film narrates an overlapping documentary where the line between what is real and what might be fake blurs, as Banksy exposes modern art and celebrities while putting them under a microscope. The film makes the audience think about the authenticity of art, the purpose os street art and the process of becoming an artist.
” Become good at cheating and you never need to become good at anything else.”– Banksy
Thierry is said to be a provocative figure in street art. He uses copyrighted images from popular culture, history and art history. He subtly alters the context of the image or the original source material. By doing so Mr. Brainwash mischievously undermines it’s tone. No one really knew about Mr.Brainwash before the Banksy documentary. After the film he grew into a household name and has apparently enjoyed a flourishing artistic career ever since. Even though Thierry is not considered a real artist by most it seems as though he has done alot of good charity work with his new found fame. So let’s give him a pat on the back for this and give him some credit where credit is due.
The film also has cameos from other street artists such as Shepard Fairey, Space Invader ( Thierry’s cousin ) and Andre.
Banksy has books that he has published. One such book is his best selling book named -Wall and Piece which was published in 2005 by Random House Publishing. He also sells pieces through his agency, called Pest Control. They also validate his work to prevent fraud.
” I could sit in a pub and tell you all the things that are written in this book but you wouldn’t fucking listen.”– Banksy
Is he a modern day Robin Hood? Some believe that indeed he is. While he may hide behind a concealed identity, his work has always advocated for an artist’s social duty, especially now that there is more access to art.
Theres a whole new audience out there, and it’s never been easier to sell one’s art. You don’t have to go to college, frag around a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries, or sleep with someone powerful, all you need now is a few ideas and a broad band connection. This is the first time that the essentially bourgeoisworld of art has belonged to the people, we need to make it count.-Banksy
Some say that it does nothing just to put words on walls. Ok… true but maybe he puts out his art and his ideas and it is up to us to do something about it. Maybe he is not trying to be a hero. I think he just wants us all to think about his message and what we do with it from there is on us. Yes we all know about child slave labor that he depicts in some of his pieces, But how many of us have stopped buying from the companies who use said child slave labor as a means to supply the great demand for their products? Maybe just maybe we should stop finding things to complain about and just take it for what it is.
” Live as a villain, die as a hero.”– Banksy
Banksy is a polital activist and his satirical street art and submersive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities around the world. Below are just a rew examples. For me I think that just looking at the placing of his peices says something. Like how in the world did he graffiti the rail bridge on Old Street where he painted the riot police with the smily faces?
” Some people represent authority without ever possessing any of their own.”– bAnksy
How did he graffiti the Pulp Fiction on the Shoreditch Firestation? It is a building that is manned by trained fire fighters 24/7 and it seems almost impossible to be able to do.
On the door of the main entrance of Larry Flint’s Hustler Club Banksy painted this mural he called Waiting in Vain.
” There are no exceptions to the rule that everyone thinks they’re an exception to the rule.”– Banksy
A Banksy works near the headquarters of Britain’s eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, known as the GCHQ in Cheltenham England.
” Fight thre fighters, not their wars.”– Banksy
Banksy in London England 2004
“When the time comes to leave, just walk away quietly and dont make any fuss.”-Banksy
Tai, a 38 year old elephant painted by Banksy is displayed at the Barley Legal exhibition at a warehouse near downtown Las Angeles 2004
” Painting something that defies the law of the land is good. Painting something that defies the law of the land and the law of gravity at rhe same time is ideal.”– Banksy
What Banksy does is humorous, political, and daring. To risk arrest to make his statements is what makes Banksy different. Most people lke Banksy’s art because they say it is powerful yet simple ro appreciate and it is politically charged yet cheeky. He has a way of making people feel thoughtful, happy and even rebellious. He inspires people and allows them to see that real art does not have to be ambiguous and difficult. Alot of people who are fans of Banksy have said that he represents British society the best before the Royal family or the Church of England.
Ian Syer of MyArtBroker.com said ” Now we have definitive reasons as to why Banksy is so popular. Not only does Banksy capture the hearts and minds of all generations, the art produced is also considered to be complex and emotive yet simple to digest and appreciate. It is incredibly rare and pleasant combination in the art world and one which is being reflected in the rapidly rising prices of his work in the secondary market. Banksy is a national treasure and one we should be proud of.”
” I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”-Banksy