Most young people have heard about Banksy, but what about you? The discussion in regards to whether graffiti is art or not has been running for ages, but we believe that Banksy finally put an end to the debate. Yes, graffiti can be art, and if used correctly, it can be as beautiful as anything else. Banksy is probably the most famous (and celebrated) graffiti artist in history, with some of his art being sold for big amounts of money. Still, until this day, it is unknown who the artist really is, and if it is just one artist at all and not several of them. Banksy started out in Bristol, but quickly made his way around the UK and the world in general. He is mainly a graffiti artist, but is also considered to be a political activist and a film director. Banksy has released a couple documentaries, which both were critically acclaimed and received prestigious awards. Banksy has also been awarded Person of the Year in the 2014 Webby Awards, but how can you hand out a prize to a person of unknown identity?
No identity, no rules
Since Banksy is of unknown identity, he (or she) can basically paint whatever, wherever, and depict whoever. There are no boundaries to this form of art, and with the support of local communities, many of Banksy´s graffiti have been preserved, as opposed to normal graffiti which usually is washed off the walls as soon as possible by the local councils. Banksy started out as early as in 1992, with stencils as an element of his graffiti art. Since then, the name has gone around the globe, and most people have either heard of him, or even bought some of his work. You can easily find awesome posters and even some original work, if you look hard enough. For example, in 2004, to commemorate the death of Princess Diana, Banksy created a bunch of fake 10 pound notes which were thrown at crowds in the Notting Hill Carnival the same year. The notes, where the Queen of England was replaced with Diana, also said “Banksy of England” instead of “Bank of England”. As mentioned – when you have no identity, you are not obliged to follow any rules. These 10 pound notes are now sold for as much as 200 dollars each online, and one uncut piece of paper with these notes was sold off an auction for a whopping 24 000 pounds in 2007.
As Banksy is a political activist, he is very concerned with the mass mentality and the sheep effect that has taken a hold of big parts of humanity. The “Banksy Effect” is a perfect example. After Banksy started painting political art on numerous walls all across the United Kingdom (as well as Palestine and other places around the world), the general interest for street art started growing. This culminated in famous sketches by Banksy being sold at auctions in London for ridiculous amounts of money. Banksy, as opposed to most artists looking for fame and fortune, opposed this, and created a new painting depicting people at an auction, and wrote the following; “I Can´t Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit”. Again, Banksy pointed straight at our deepest issues, the subconscious mind and flock mentality which politicians and monarchs have been using against us for centuries. Some of his artworks are allowed to remain in place, but numerous murals pointing directly at the police state we are being dragged into have been covered up by the local governments. One famous mural, which stated “One Nation Under CCTV”, was, for example, quickly painted over. More recently, another mural called “Slave Labour”, depicting a small child sewing together bunts of UK flags, was also removed. The struggle continues.