Who is Banksy?

Banksy, Banksy, Banksy.. this guy seems to be everywhere. The mainstream media love publishing stuff on this guy. Andy Warhol would be proud of the inches published on Banksy over the past 18 months.

He has an official website, where I stole the image to the left of this post (it’s a detail of a larger work). There’s no links on his homepage, but he does have more pages to his site. I’m not sure how you are meant to find more pages of his site if you don’t know about them, but here’s some outdoor works, indoor works, and a Banksy manifesto.

banksy detail

“The time of getting fame for your name on its own is over. Artwork that is only about wanting to be famous will never make you famous. Any fame is a by-product of making something that means something. You don’t go to a restaurant and order a meal because you want to have a shit.” Banksy Quote

Coxsoft has a few Banksy posts on his art blog. He points to a piece on the BBC website where they say that the notoriously secretive artist is the thirty-something year old Robert Banks of Bristol in the UK. They also say that Banksy has no formal art education, started painting grafitti at 14, he used to bootleg rock memorobilia, and has spent time in detention for petty crimes.

His name and art may be familiar to millions of people of worldwide, but there are very few photos or details known about the actual artist. Simon Hattenstone of the Guardian has been one of the few journalists to interview the artist. Hattenstone says..
“Banksy is Britain’s most celebrated graffiti artist, but anonymity is vital to him because graffiti is illegal. The day he goes public is the day the graffiti ends.” Guardian Interview with Banksy

See a video below of Banksy at work in Palestine, where the artist has this to say about the “segregation wall” seperating Palenstine and Israel..
The segregation wall is a disgrace.. The possibility I find exciting is you could turn the world’s most invasive and degrading structure into the world’s longest gallery of free speech and bad art.” Banksy

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.

Comments

  1. oh, my … the only thing “invasive and degrading” here is the so called Banksy’s “art” … and about his opportunistic snobish more-than-ignorant opinions, who cares really!?

    move on, Art News Blog!

  2. I really like his graffiti.

  3. I ♥ Banksy

  4. too funny.

  5. I ♥♥ Banksy too

  6. His art is interesting, but I have a pretty fundamental problem with the graffiti aspect of it. Sorry, but it’s NOT okay to deface other people’s property just to make a statement and the “it’s art” defense does not protect. It irks me a little bit, because there are thousands of other artists of all types who manage to make completely legitimate (and even challenging and experimental) art without breaking any laws.

  7. some people see it as defacing, others enjoy seeing it, and some regard banksy’s graffiti as public art to be treasured.One couple won’t sell their home unless the buyer promises not to remove his mural.
    http://www.24dash.com/socialhousing/16379.htm

    and perhaps some people believe this wall deserve to be defaced.

  8. Whether you like Banksy’s work or not, that first comment is just so utterly repugnant that I barely know how to respond.

    Anyway, I think he’s brilliant. I like (thoughtful) graffiti – reclaiming public space yada yada yada – and his in particular is very clever.

    There is also an artist (in London, I believe?) going around making pieces by *cleaning* public spaces. Ie he created this enormous mural of skulls in a subway tunnel by cleaning all the dirt & grime off the walls, leaving a kind of clean silhouette. Similar, clever idea to Banksy’s.

  9. I think pandaobscura is right. And now that Banksy art is selling for high prices at Sotheby’s, we have free reign to laugh at anyone who feels that graffiti is bad. Now that the authorities have caught on that they can sell the graffiti for huge sums they are actually instructing their cleanup teams to SAVE the banksies.

  10. Aside from the surface both Banksy and Dolk probably the two Stencil giants are quite amazing.

    Specifically with Dolk but also with Banksy, they have a good sense of humor and communicate without getting overly political.

    Now we just need to get them some more legit surfaces.

    See what I mean click on my name to go to the page I posted with some images.

    here is the url:
    http://marcozna.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/more-and-more-dolk-and-more-again/

  11. Anonymous says:

    Banksy is cool.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You can’t just look at the aspect of graffiti art, look at the message behind it.

  13. It always makes me laugh when I hear people talk about graffiti and especially when it revolves around Banksy. The only thing that irritates me about graffiti artists are the wannabes who plaster their signatures on walls, doors, stores, mail boxes, wherever… Way to go, DUMB@SS’s you’ve created absolutely nothing. In fact the only thing you did was you showed all your loser friends what an idiot you are. But when people take time to create “proper” graffiti art or when Banksy plasters a wall with his simple yet deep political and subversive messages, that’s skill, conviction, and passion. These people shouldn’t be ridiculed or arrested; they should be given more concrete to work with.

  14. Anonymous says:

    dear frank,
    go back to israel.
    love,
    the world

  15. Anonymous says:

    A political party is abusing the design of the wellknown UK Banksy collective for political ends… The news was reported by the Belgian blog ‘De Jager‘.

    The news is now also on Digg.com

  16. Isn’t art something that looks good and make you think? Call it simple, but its a summation that even the kids can understand.

    Graf art has always been something that everyone can access, the funny thing is that its only ever really been something the outsiders get. The people thaat don’t go to the galleries, the ones that are likely to get searched on the way out of the gallery!

    I like getting my dose of art on the train on tne way to work. It makes me smile on the way to work and god knows we all need a smile a day.

    Basquait was once on the out as SAMO, he had something to say and it was only his friends that got it that he gave his real work to. “Black negro athletes”, need I say more. Hes now selling for 3.3mil, need I say more…

  17. I had seven years of formal art education, I’ve made loads of art, I’ve sold nothing.

    If only I had repeated the imagery and slogans of my collection of 80′s punk rock albums and painted it on walls (making me a grafitti rebel) – I could have been rich!

  18. Thank you for your comments , on the anonomous Graffiti Artist, “Sir Banksy” who creates meaning and Happiness in Our Sad World of Today…Well Done my Son.keep up the good work..

  19. Banksy is actually “THE GREATEST”!!! Believe dat 4real!
    i need 2 find dis man n work wid him!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Banksy is a very talented man and he is tackling some real issues with his art. i wish poeple would appreciate this art.
    What he is doing is inspiring to a lot of young artists and is so origanal…..
    And as for the comment about vandalising property i know me,my family and many of my friends would love and pay Banksy to put his amazing artwork on our houses.
    To the people that cristise Banksy, there are a lot more bad things and issues going on in our world many of which banksy is trying to raise.

  21. Anonymous says:

    banksy the net is closing in, i actually enjoy your art, but i feel your artistic talent could be used in a positive way by getting it in the right place. lets hope you are not bold enough to come to chippenham, i would love an excuse to investigate a criminal damage and get you doing some community service with our youths in the town, turn it around banksy become a more positive role model. there is a place for your art,,,, lets get it on the walls legally…
    ian whiteway

  22. What Banksy does IS community service. He changes the mental environment for people, makes us laugh, makes us think. “Art belongs in a gallery” Why? why shouldn’t the places we live in be filled with creative and inspiring art pieces? Why does it have to be in a frame to be valid? It doesn’t. Street art is illegal, which means that unlike alot of other youthful subcultures, it can’t be turned into a “niche market”. And to frank, who calls Banksy’s opinions on the Palestine-Israeli conflict ignorant, and in the same sentence states his own opinion on the subject to be “who cares really”, you frank, are an ignorant chump. If you actually think that Banksy’s art is more offensive and degrading than the Israeli wall, which goes well outside of Israeli territory and is therefore illegal, then you are a fool.

  23. BANKSY =HIRST

  24. Anonymous says:

    hes not even breakin any laws hes makin the wall look better than just some stupid plain gray surface

  25. donaldfrazell says:

    Looks great on the wall, what he is doing is social and political art, and doesnt belong in a museum or gallery. Which is fine also, becasue most contemporary museums and galleries are filled with the truly bad graffiti, things created as marketing devices for a narrow minded and weak art world.

    Art always was and is still, though in denial and in fear of, defining who WE are as a people, now a world people, and our sense of God. Too many silly games by neurotic artsy types, I will take Bankys over them anyday. On our LA freeway walls maybe, better than the damn taggers and their irritating self hyping scrawls. Self absorbtion, on the streets or museums walls, is always trash.
    I think he is doing a great service, though have not seen more than this, so he could also be ruining neighbrohood serenity. I dont know, but in a place of no peace, go for it!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Who is Banksy? How many Banksys are there? Why do we assume there is only one Banksy?Are there any forgeries? How would we know? There must be many who have tried to impersonate Banksy. Does he really exist? I believe his true identity is BRIAN SEWELL!!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    When the wall fell in Germany the western side was filled with thoughts transcribed in graffiti. It has been said that graffiti in a town is a sign of growth within the town, good and bad, However when the wall fell the eastern side of Berlin had just as much graffiti with very little growth.? Chiken or the egg? Either way the wall is gone and the people made it happen. Keep going Banksy!

  28. Truly mysterious and imaginative

  29. He’s a former commercial artist from the ad world.

  30. Anonymous says:

    i think devons comment is great, and i hate it when people like frank try and sound clever by putting comments that end up just showing how much of an arse he is, one of the reasons he does it illegally on public property is to get the message across which he creates very subtly and cleverly,i came across this as i was just curious who banksy is and i think that you’ve gone out of your way to make this comment on an internet blog shows you’ve got way to much time on your hands, personally i think bansky’s art is amazing

  31. well banksy i told you it wouldnt be long or should i say rob gunningham or robin, great to see you havent changed from your school days, anyway you definately wont want to do any of your art in chippenham now will you as you now can be summonsed,,,,ian whiteway.
    i did say work with us and help,,

  32. Banksy is ahead of his time, making art for the future, using methods from the past. wheather you like his works or not he is still getting your attention, and you are still looking at his art. You cant help it. Banksy will be around for a long time.

  33. Anonymous says:

    hi there just to say robin you have been quiet of late hope you are not getting worried about police finding you,, anyway havent seen you in yate for a long time now hope mum is well, speak soon asboman

  34. Sarianna says:

    i FOUND OUT ALSO THAT BANSKY IS DAMIE
    HIRST. He have Banksys works in his exhibitions he have this same kind of immoral attitude. He have friends who do most of works for him
    - commny. He spear disinformation of himself. And so on. Banksy is manipulative relativist.

  35. sarianna says:

    I’m sorry. I mean HIRST/BANKSY owns a comppany. And he spear disinformation about himself. Sold out totally!

  36. kathryn says:

    Banksy is a fad. Plain and simple.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Banksy is the future of art.

  38. Banksy is fascist. All hes ideas are straight from CIA animal and human/military experiments. Is he agent who is trying to propose yang people to swallow those ideas adn brainwash….???

    Be realist don’t relativist!
    and see truth behind this christian idiot. He dosent belong graffiti scene he is so far away from the principles in graffiti… only thing what combines is illegality and that is also fascist prisple if your message is in position at fasist state, anti-human and anti nature point of view.

    open your eyes!! And use your brains.

  39. It’s been really interesting reading all these comments about Banksy.
    It’s also fun to look at how people can’t spell! ☺
    I’m still in high school and this is exactly what get marked down on!

  40. Benita Kim says:

    Most people wants to make the world a better place. Banksy wants to make the world a better-looking place.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Mail on Sunday newspaper believes they have uncovered the identity of the underground British graffiti artist Banksy. The Mail On Sunday say that Banksy is the 34 year former public schoolboy (private school) Robin [...]

  2. [...] Art Newspaper has reported that employees of the company that authenticates and publishes Banksy prints “Pictures on Walls” (POW), have been selling unauthorized Banksy prints on eBay. [...]

  3. [...] have nothing against Banksy.. I actually like him.. he makes me smile.. this story just got me thinking about [...]

  4. […] like it is a bad thing. In a society that was open to change, I doubt an artist like Banksy would be seen as a bad boy.. he would probably be a great political leader in a world that […]

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