Bansky street artist extraordinaire
Many sources say the incognito artist known as "Banksy" was named at birth Robert (or Robin) Banks in Bristol London in 1974. One source says his birth name is Robin Guggenheim. He maintains strict anonymity in his dealings with the public, some would say only to help build hype and keep him out of jail. Perhaps he just wants to keep the poison of fame to a minimum; if so, he is acting out of wisdom.
His prolific street art career started in 1989 with attempts at making traditional graffiti. He quickly picked up a stealthier way of tagging buildings that also lends itself to creating the same image again and again: stenciling. This opened a window to a new world for Banksy, letting him create signature images including those of: rats, English Policemen and children. I've gathered up some of my favorite ones here; and you can see more of them at his site. You can see some more here; and here's another site. This is another photo-gallery. Finally worth noting is that Banksy put up a number of images on the Palestine Wall, risking what ever might have happened to him there. Banksy's most recent tags are in Detroit, though that may have already changed. Banksy just keeps on creating perverse, political, humorous and thought-provoking art at a prolific rate! More calories to Banksy!!
Banksy doesn't stick just to the medium of stenciling. Some of his work is sculptural. Some Conceptual. And some is just plain weird. He has taken a full size English phone booth and violently assaulted it, leaving it to rot in a puddle of it's own blood. He has taken outdoor toilets stalls and turned them into a scale representation of stone henge. He has opened a gallery show with the presence of (specially breed ultra-disease free) rats! What an ingenious and enigmatic man is this man Banksy. In recent years he has made some commissions, including one for green piece.
Perhaps my favorite piece of Banksy's that I've heard of (though I might feel quite differently if I actually had to listen to one of them) is a special remix he did of Paris Hilton's debut album; it consisted of "instrumental music" overlaid with "various statements" that she had made. The CD was inserted into a fake box with assorted unflattering pictures of her on it. Banksy placed 500 of these into record stores in the U.K.; and I suppose, at least some of them were purchased by unsuspecting admirers. This escapade was pulled off with the assistance of an artist called Danger Mouse.
In another stunt, Banksy placed framed paintings he had made into some of the worlds most respected and long standing museums, including the Tate in London; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York - which decided to keep the painting. Now that's circumventing the usual channels!
In addition to everything else that he has done, Banksy has published 5 books. Two of them are widely available: Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall (published in 2001) and Wall and Piece (published in 2005 by Random House). They are written by him, and contain pictures of the various work that he has done. Certainly collectors items.
While some may feel that Banksy is just a petty criminal, and others have become enamored of him to the extent that they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars (more than I made in the last decade!) for one of his paintings, I feel that he is making a worthwhile contribution to the political scene. We need more awareness of the profound injustices in our world however that is accomplished. Banksy is rightly profiting for his efforts now, and he may have to go jail at some point to (I wish the same could be said for the culprits at BP and in our governments).
I hope you have enjoyed my hub on Banksy!
If you did, you may also like to visit these other hubbers posts:
And also be sure to type in Banksy in the hubpages search engine.