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Banksy Photo

Banksy

British Graffiti artist, political activist, and film director

Born: c. 1965 - 1974 - Bristol, England

Banksy Timeline

Quotes

"If you have a statue in the city centre, you could go past it every day on your way to school and never even notice it, right - but as soon as someone puts a traffic cone on its head, you've made your own sculpture."
Banksy
"A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to."
Banksy
"A wall is a very big weapon. It's one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with."
Banksy
"It doesn't take much to be a successful artist - all you need to do is dedicate your entire life to it."
Banksy
"Banksy's conceptual humour works just as well in the gallery context, yet I don't think it has a long life there, as its jokes are so one-dimensional and soulless."
Jonathan Jones
"It adds up to an experience that keeps pummelling you with surprises. To pick the most ambitious example, the ruined castle at the centre of the ruined lido, the one whose moat is filled with unwanted supermarket trolleys and dog poo, turns out to house a most spectacular reimagining by Banksy of the Cinderella story."
Waldemar Januszczak
"We are all Banksy."
Robert Del Naja

"Become good at cheating and you never need to become good at anything else."

Banksy Signature

Synopsis

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, English graffiti artist and international prankster Banksy has managed to become one of the world's most recognized artists while remaining relatively anonymous. Staying true to the credos of street art, he's built a celebrated body of work, both permanent and impermanent, that utilizes satire, subversion, dark humor, and irony to create resonant social, political, and humanist messages for the masses on a populous and public level. His style is universally familiar, founded on a signature stencil aesthetic that has elevated him from mere man with a spray can to a highly creative artist in his own right. He is responsible for catapulting guerilla work into the mainstream as a viable form of art.

Key Ideas

Banksy's artistry lies in his ability to use humor and sardonic wit to trick viewers into contemplating the underlying seriousness of his messages about capitalism, advertising, politics, and humanity. It is this very sense of innocent whimsy coupled with daring, glaring truths about our times that lift him to a role as potent social mediator all under the guise of art.
Because of the volatility and impermanence of Banksy's chosen canvas, i.e. the street and improvisational pop-up public places, he remains true to guerilla art's philosophy, being that the commodification of art is a blasphemous way to validate an artist within only a specific social sector or market.
Anonymity has been Banksy's modus operandi, largely because it removes the status of artist as celebrity and instead forces a focus on the artwork. It also allows for the freedom of telling one's unapologetic truth without regard to consequence.
In an ironic twist of fate, Banksy's subversive mien has only furthered his crossover to mainstream acceptance as the world takes note of his signature style and lack of any noted ego drive toward artistic recognition. The artist himself has become a bridge not unlike the ones his artwork aims to build.
Because graffiti is illegal, Banksy's work continues to raise questions in the social sphere about the lines between public art and vandalism. If his work on the side of a building becomes a collectible, protected piece while another less known street artist is jailed for performing a similar action, what does this signify about the hypocrisy afforded to fame?

Biography

Banksy Photo

Childhood

Very little is known of Banksy's youth, as he continues to keep his true identity a secret. It is reported that he played (as goalkeeper) with the Easton Cowboys football club during the 1990s and early 2000s. According to Will Simpson, another long-time member of the Easton Cowboys, Banksy went on tour with the team to Mexico in 2001 and painted a number of murals in the communities they played in, including one painting that was "raffled off to raise money for water projects in Chiapas in southwestern Mexico."

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Banksy Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Banksy
Interactive chart with Banksy's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Nick Walker
Inkie
3D
Andy WarholAndy Warhol
Blek le Rat

Personal Contacts

Kato
Tes
Shepard FaireyShepard Fairey

Movements

Street art
Pop ArtPop Art

Influences on Artist
Banksy
Banksy
Years Worked: 1990 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Mr. Brainwash
Ron English

Personal Contacts

Kato
Tes
Shepard FaireyShepard Fairey

Movements

Street art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Alexandra Duncan

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Alexandra Duncan
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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