Who is he? Learn more about Banksy

Banksy is one of the most famous and controversial street-artists of the early 21st century, whose pieces are displayed on the walls all over the world. “Banksy effect” has electrified the public since the early 2000’s and almost every new piece he produces quickly becomes iconic. Art critics often put him in one line with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein or Yayoi Kusama...without even knowing his identity.

Banksy “Monkey Mask Session“, 2003

Who is Banksy?

The question that puzzles everyone. Banksy is a pseudonym of a British artist known best for his graffiti works. Over the years his real name is unknown to this day remains a topic of an ongoing speculation. He started his career within the Bristol based graffiti crew called DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ). His early pieces were often inspired by the works of Blek Le Rat, a legendary French graffiti artist who pioneered the stencil technique in the early 1980’s. The rat theme migrated from Blek Le Rat to Banksy and is often used by the artist in his pieces. Banksy’s rats began appearing on the walls of Bristol in the early 1990’s and were linked by the artists to the degenerative nature of graffiti art as it was mainly seen back then.

Banksy, "I'm worthless, Rat"

Banksy, "I'm worthless, Rat"

Banksy, "I'm out of bed.., Rat"

Banksy, "I'm out of bed.., Rat"

Street Art Revolution

"Despite what they say graffiti is not the lowest form of art. Although you might have to creep about at night and lie to your mum it's actually one of the more honest art forms available. There is no elitism or hype, it exhibits on the best walls a town has to offer and nobody is put off by the price of admission" (Banksy)

Banksy’s idea of art is that everyone should have access to it and it should not be commercialised. He views graffiti as a form of art that is accessible in that way, and instead of vandalising the city walls it makes them look better. With that said, Banksy is also a critical observer of the world’s social and political events that expresses his commentary through his artworks. Many of his iconic pieces, originally placed on the walls, are later replicated by the artist in a limited series of custom made prints. The street art revolution he is responsible for, really changed how people view graffiti as an art form, from something considered as defacing community property to hush art. Moreover, he also let street art into our homes. The prints such as "Happy Choppers", "Girl with Balloon", Rat series, "Grannies" are very popular with the collectors. Only in last two years Banksy pieces reached several years six figures sales in World'd biggest auction houses. October 14th Banksy half-shredded piece "Love is in the Bin" was sold for the record breaking $25 400 000.

Banksy, "Grannies", 2006

Banksy, "Grannies", 2006

Banksy, "Happy Chopper", 2006

Banksy, "Happy Chopper", 2006

Banksy, "Girl with Balloon", 2005

Banksy, "Girl with Balloon", 2005

Banksy, Love is in the bin, 2018

Banksy, Love is in the bin, 2018

Artworks

Banksy is a very versatile artist and his work includes various mediums, including sculpture, happenings, mix media, and movies. In 2013 Banksy was invited to do a month-long residency in New York called “Better Out Than In”, during which he presented a new work every day. During one of his “interventions” under a disguise he sold his original pieces for $60, and he only sold...8 of them. A day later he owned the stunt and authenticated all of the pieces.

Banksy Art Stand, New York, 2013, source: BBC News

Banksy Art Stand, New York, 2013, source: BBC News

In 2015 Banksy opened “Dismaland”, a dystopian theme park in England which he worked on in secret with 58 other artists During the project Banksy revealed 10 new works. 

Dismaland, 2015, source: dismaland.co.uk

Dismaland, 2015, source: dismaland.co.uk

Banksy is one of the designers behind Walled Off Hotel in Betlehem, in 2017. The art hotel is placed opposite the Israeli West Bank Barrier and was initially thought to be a temporary provocative art installation. Rooms (of which 9 are designed by Banksy himself) are themed to bring more attention to the war conflicts happening in the region. Banksy artistically expressed his views on the political situation of the region a decade earlier when he placed his murals on the West Bank Barrier.

Presidential suite at The Walled off Hotel

Presidential suite at The Walled off Hotel

Banksy mural on the West Bank Barrier, source: Banskyblog

Banksy mural on the West Bank Barrier, source: Banskyblog

In 2011 Banksy released a movie on the graffiti art world called “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. Although many of the events in the movie feature Banksy himself, the documentary is set to pose a question of what is real or fake.

A shot from "Exit Through The Gift Shop"

A shot from "Exit Through The Gift Shop"

How to authenticate your Banksy piece?

If you have a Banksy print or other work you think that it maybe of Banksy, the only authorised body to authenticate your piece is an organisation called Pest Control. You can contact them, send them your piece and get a custom issued Certificate of Authenticity for your work. The organisation keeps track of and handles all the of the original Banksy's pieces.

Pest Control logo

Pest Control logo

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