The History of Banksy

While his real identity is still unknown, “Banksy” hails from England and is a world-renowned graffiti artist, famous for his political activism and the distinctive stenciling technique in his artwork. Banksy was born in Yate, Bristol in 1974, where the underground scene gave birth to Banksy’s satirical street art. While he remains anonymous, he has interviewed with many newspapers and journalists to shed light on his upbringing and the passion that drives him.

Banksy’s artwork began hitting the scene in the late 1980’s when his work started to rival that of Bick le Rat.  The London Tube System underwent several “graffiti attacks” during that time period, and the stencil work Banksy is now famous for was all too prevalent for the local authorities to assume most of it was done by anyone else. Although this artistic expressionism is considered vandalism and destruction of property, Banksy mocks this stereotypical thinking by doing the majority of his work on public walls, streets, and buildings.

Although many people still view his work as real craftsmanship, to this day, he still does not sell his own pieces. On occasion, the job of removing his graffiti will actually be auctioned off and sold to the winning bidder for removal, or in most cases reproduction. Most people feel that because of Banksy’s anonymity, it only adds to the value of his artwork. Banksy however, is not only known for his physical artwork. He is also known as an established film director.  In January 2010, the film Exit Through the Gift Shop was displayed at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. This film was later nominated for an Oscar.

Even though Banksy art has received plenty of accreditation around the world for creating new artistic talents and visionary movements, the man himself is much against the global fame that has followed it. He views his artwork as heroic expressions and is known for making statements directly relating to the work he has created. One of his most famous pieces of work is known as the Banksy Balloon Girl. This stencil is known by a few names, but the meaning touches the heart of many. The picture displays a young girl reaching out for a red balloon shaped like a heart. In most depictions she is unable to reach it, and on some, a caption near the image says, “there is always hope”. This painting has different meanings to many people, but the overall message is the same. Banksy’s artwork will always be more than a vandalistic approach to artistic interoperations. Rather, for many people, his depictions will always stand for three things; humor, clarity, and hope.

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