Who is Banksy?
I've always enjoyed his artwork. Banksy truly makes us smile. He makes us think, too. His work enlivens ugly areas. He makes a social comment. And yet there aren't many of us who know exactly who he is. We know the pseudonym. But we know little about the man behind it.
Indeed, is the work that we see actually the work of one person? Is some the work of copyists? How would we know?
But the real question is, why would we want what is generally known as street art in our homes? And we do - his posters and other items are best sellers. And I believe it's for the reasons mentioned above - they make us smile.
Art in any form is subjective and there are many, many clichés that we all know. Banksy brings his artwork (literally) to 'the man in the street'. It's ours.
Images copyright free from Wikimedia Commons.
Part artist, part vandal, part fairy godmother?
There's a huge number of people who love his work. There are others who see graffiti as vandalism. (Despite the fact that his work is invariably painted on unsightly walls or buildings.)
But fairy godmother? Banksy's work, which is sometimes damaged or defaced, can be worth a great deal. In London, CCTV cameras caught two men installing an artwork on a wall outside the premises on a youth project in inner-city Bristol. (The artist is reputedly a native of that city.)
Unlike most of his work, this wasn't stencilled directly onto the wall but was on board. The youth project, which badly needs funds, took possession and have it on display (viewers are encouraged to make a donation but there is no entry fee.)
Considering that Banksy's artwork sells for enormous amounts of money was this his way of helping the youth project? Their director believes so. He says that a close friend of the artist let him know that is how it was intended.
Many of Banksy's works have been destroyed. In some cases this was deliberate and in others, accidental. His paintings have also been removed from their original locations and sold for huge sums. Some - which is a weird sort of irony - have been vandalised.
Another irony is that the 'art establishment' sells his work for enormous sums. This also brings up another question that is rife in the art world - that of restoration.
Where does the law stand?
What's interesting is that 'the establishment' can't seem to decide on its own attitude. Some Banksy works have been destroyed by the authorities on the grounds that they were graffiti and therefore vandalism - and therefore graffiti.
On the other hand, the two men who defaced Kissing Coppers (above) were themselves captured on CCTV film and were prosecuted for virtually obliterating the work.
This is located in New Orleans. Prior to 2005 most people, when New Orleans was mentioned, would think of jazz, Mardi Gras, the French Quarter or the Café du Monde. Katrina changed all that and also damaged this building. Fitting then, that Banksy made the 'comment' you see above.
His works are now available on a huge variety of objects - from doormats to jewellery.
Most people have strong views about graffiti one way or another. What's yours?
© 2014 Jackie Jackson