Banksy is an anonymous graffiti artist from Bristol. He has sparked some controversy throughout his career, and made people question whether or not graffiti is art. Banksy was an underground graffiti artist for many years but now he can rake in hundreds of thousands of pounds for a print, and is taking his art to new extremes.
Let’s take a look at his rise to fame and some of his most scandalous moments, with some of my own photos:
2003: Banksy makes his ‘mainstream’ debut, his image is used as the cover for The Blur album ‘Think tank’.
2005: Banksy stencils scenes of paradise on Israel’s West Bank wall. He also sneaks a fake cave drawing into the British Museum, which once discovered is added to the Museum’s collection.
2006: Banksy hits the hills! He holds the Barely Legal exhibition in Los Angeles. This includes a real life ‘elephant in the room’ which in this case was painted bright pink. Christina Aguilera buys some prints for £25,000. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly purchase some work too.
Banksy work goes down a storm at Sotheby’s. His Kate Moss and Mona Lisa prints sell for over £50,000.
Banksy ‘adapts’ some Paris Hilton albums. He swapped the cd for remixes created by Dangermouse, and Banksy gives his own personal touch to the inlay artwork. Some people actually bought these versions before record shops realised the stunt.
He also creates a BT phone box sculpture with an axe wounding it. It symbolises BT’s decision to remove some of the Red Telephone boxes in London…BT displayed the sculpture in their lobby after it was removed by the council.
Banksy busy year is completed with some public reassurance. The Bristol City Council let the public decided if Banksy’s painting of a naked man hanging out the window should be kept…97% of voters decided they wanted it saved.
2007: Banksy once again is a success at Sotheby’s, this time his highest sale figure being £102,000.
2008: Westminster City Council remove “One Nation Under CCTV”, explaining that graffiti will not be tolerated.
2009: Banksy thanks his hometown by putting on a free exhibition for the city. The exhibition featured hundreds of Banky’s prints, and some were hidden in the actual displays in the museum, which made the viewing experience even more enjoyable. I queued for 5 hours to get in, but it was well worth the wait.
2010– Banksy releases his first film “Exit through the gift shop”
Who knows what the future will bring for Banksy, or rather what Banksy will bring to the future. Whether you agree with his techniques or not, he certainly has got people talking, and made a lot of younger people more interested in art. I for one am excited to see what satirical, thought provoking and original pieces he has to offer in these coming years, and if we will find out once and for all who the elusive Banksy is.