Banksy Returns to NYC
Banksy is back! The anonymous street artist recently announced a month-long residency in New York — which means, of course, all sorts of strange and wonderful graffiti will be popping up all over town (one such piece has already surfaced and been destroyed, but was quickly replaced).
(Image credits banksy)
The British artist, whose actual identity remains a mystery, applies his graffiti art "guerrilla style" — i.e., under the cover of night so as not to get arrested.
Banksy is also known for his crazy stunts, like the time he inserted his own work into famous art museums.
Frisking the Friskers
Banksy cleverly uses the urban landscape as his canvas and spray can as his brush. His work is funny, ironic and often makes powerful political or societal statements.
While Banksy's given name is still unknown, here's one rumor about his origins: He was maybe born in Bristol in 1974 and his father was possibly a photocopier technician.
Banksy's stenciling started appearing on public streets in the early '90s as part of a Bristol-based street gang called the DryBreadZ Crew.
Who's Your Daddy?
Who's Robert Gunningham? It could be Banksy. That's one of the most persistent rumors concerning his true identity.
Banksy says his unique brand of graffiti began after spotting a stenciled serial number of a garbage bin while hiding from the police.
Banksy infuriated animal rights activists in his 2006 Los Angeles exhibition Barely Legal after painting a live elephant. On the next day of the show, the elephant returned paint-free.
Vision of Paradise
Want to buy an original Banksy? Don't try any commercial art galleries, because he won't let them sell his work.
In 2010, Banksy directed "Exit Through the Gift Shop," a documentary about the street art movement. It was nominated for an Oscar.
Banksy won the award for "Art’s Greatest Living Briton" in 2007, but, of course, did not show up to accept it.
Some of the artist's favorite subjects include rats, police, apes, the royal family and children.
CCTV — You're On It
His worldwide fame has led not only to greater appreciation of graffiti in general, but to many considering it "street art." The journalist Max Foster calls this "the Banksy effect."
Change, Not Coins
His artwork is often removed from the public eye and then sold privately. Celebrity collectors of his work include Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Christina Aguilera.
Now That's a Smile
Other famous Banksy pranks include: putting an inflatable doll dressed like a Guantanamo prisoner at Disneyland and hanging his version of the "Mona Lisa" in the Louvre (identical, except for the smiley face).
More Banksy theories:
— His real name is Robin Banks.
— He was formerly a butcher.
— His parents have no clue about his notoriety and believe he's just a successful decorator.
— He doesn't exist at all (and is actually just a collection of artists).
After Christina Aguilera bought some original Banksy pieces for around $50,000, Kate Moss sold one of hers for more than $100,000, an auction record for his work.
Cleaning Up Cave Graffiti
Since 2007, some of Banksy's work has sold for more than half a million dollars.
All Eyes on You
Surveillance and police control are popular Banksy themes.
On Global Warming
Another example of Banksy using humor and irony to make a much more serious point.
Under the Rug
Banksy often invokes imagery reflecting the various class systems throughout England and the United States.
Isn't it Romantic?
While it's impossible to tell whether Banksy is ever 100% responsible for a particular piece of work, the art community generally believes him when he takes credit.
Banksy is good friends with Shepard Fairey, a graphic designer and illustrator best known for his iconic "Hope" Obama campaign poster and the "Obey" series.
Claiming to have no interest in being famous, Banksy reportedly said: "We don't need any more heroes; we just need someone to take out the recycling."