Most people know about Banksy. This incognito street artist’s creations first appeared in Bristol, England and later became the talk of London – his subversive, iconic stencils surfacing all over the capital. But now he has a challenge from a younger female artist just arrived on the scene. Her name is Bambi.
The artistic style is similar to Banksy’s, and so are many of Bambi’s messages. However, the welcome news for modern art collectors is that her work is more readily available to purchase than her male counterpart’s.
Who is Bambi?
Bambi and her global representatives, Walton Fine Arts London, are extremely wary about the information they divulge. It’s known that Bambi is in her mid thirties, and that she studied at St. Martins in London – one of the country’s most reputed centres of artistic studies. There has been so much speculation over her true identity, but as yet no one has managed to reveal details of the gifted artist. Even a fervent investigation by the magazine Grazia proved fruitless. As for Bambi herself, it’s clear that she wants her art to do the talking.
Inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Bambi’s artworks are bold, vivacious designs that immediately catch the eye. She works with stencil and spray-paint on paper, as well as creating one-of-a-kind works on canvas, metal and mixed media. Her work is accessible, while also challenging perceptions.
Politics, and popular culture fuel Bambi’s imagination. The racy I’m Too Hot For My Burka – a black and white depiction of a young woman sporting a bikini – is a direct response to comments made by the then-French president Nicholas Sarkozy. A stencil of the Chinese artist and activist Ai Wei-Wei was created in protest at his imprisonment. This Can’t Happen is a striking image of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, riding a missile. Bambi has her finger on the pulse of current global politics, painting what she feel as well as what she sees.
Equally, Bambi’s work can be light hearted. Diamonds are a girl’s best friends is an affectionate presentation of Elizabeth II in her coronation robes, poised like the Queen of Diamonds in a pack of playing cards. Another Bambi top-seller is her stencils of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Royalty, feminism, and a pervading sense of Britishness are recognizable Bambi traits. Nevertheless, her fan base is international, and growing.
There have already been two official exhibitions of Bambi’s work, and it attracts an affluent, often celebrity clientèle. Robbie Williams, Adele, and brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are cited among Bambi’s many fans and collectors. The artist has also been commissioned by celebrities for specific pieces of work. Kate Moss asked the artist to create a personal portrait styled after Andy Warhol’s Marilyn – for a reputed sum of $82000 – while Rihanna head-hunted Bambi to paint a giant portrait of her best friend Cara Delevingne in her home.
Not all of Bambi’s artworks are for sale. After all, she cut her artistic teeth creating stencils on the streets of her north London stomping ground, and these cannot appear at auction. However, there’s a growing body of artwork which is available to collectors, and it is growing in value everyday. The artist has many messages to put across, but her message to collectors is clear. Buy Bambi now, as her work will only increase in value.
By: Will Noble (March/April 2014)