The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Will the real Banksy please stand up

Posted by therealquickie on October 15, 2008

Banksy is a semi-anonymous artist known as a guerrilla artist due to the anti political nature of his work.

His persona and name remains secret and rumour has it that even his parents believe that he earns a living from being a painter and decorator.

Many of his early works of graffiti or street art began in Bristol, where it is thought he is originally from. However he has gone much farther a field to carry out his art in Germany, the USA and Israel.

A spokeswoman for Banksy said that while he was spray painting one of the large walls in Israel, “The Israeli security forces did shoot in the air threateningly and there were quite a few guns pointed at him.”

However Banksy does not appear to be afraid of authorities or establishments. He managed to smuggle his own work into the British Museum, where video footage showed him heavily disguised pinning up a mock cave painting with a trolley on it.

Embarrassingly for the museum committee, the piece stayed up for several days unnoticed. Tate Britain has also received Banksy’s work without invite.

His art often sends out a message, which is political in nature, questioning the ethics and lifestyles of the world we live in. Despite this, his messages are always created in a fun and appealing way. In a poll of 18 to 25-year-olds, Banksy was ranked young adults’ third favourite “art hero” after Walt Disney and Peter Kay.

Policemen, children, the elderly, animals and especially rats regularly appear in his street work. A tape recording of “his voice”, which was sent in return to an interviewer’s questions said:

“I love rats, they’ve invaded everywhere from the lowest place in the city to the highest…so maybe they represent the triumph of the little people and the unloved over everything else.”

Banksy’s art work is now worth a considerable amount of money considering eight years ago a student spent £300 on a piece of art work, but in February this year, one piece sold for over $1.8 the equivalent of £921 000.

Laura James – laura.james@my.westminster.ac.uk

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