Who is Banksy?
“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.” (Banksy, Artist)
Banksy is a famous – but anonymous – British graffiti artist. He keeps his identity secret!
He produces pieces of work which pop up in public places, such as on the walls of buildings.
A lot of his art is done in a particular style which people can easily recognise. You can find out more about that at the bottom of this page.
He began spray-painting trains and walls in his home city of Bristol in the early 1990s. Bristol is well known for its colourful street art and graffiti.
But in the 2000s, he expanded his work beyond Bristol and was soon leaving his artistic mark all over the world.
He quickly became well known as an artist who would poke fun at big companies and send political messages through his work.
Why does no one know who he is?
His identity is unknown, despite lots of people trying to guess who he is.
In 2008 the newspaper, The Mail on Sunday revealed who they thought he was.
In June 2017, a DJ referred to a Banksy as a man called ‘Rob’ in an interview.
But despite rumours about who he might be, Banksy’s true identity has never been revealed.
What is his style?
Banksy was heavily influenced in his early days by a French graffiti artist called Blek le Rat. Not only did this artist inspire Banksy politically, but Banksy was also inspired by his use of stencils.
Banksy took on this visual style for himself and, to this day, uses stencils to do a lot of his work.
This allows him to create his paintings with great detail in a short amount of time – and has also helped him to remain anonymous.
Why is he controversial?
His artwork can be rebellious and is known for delivering a political message.
There are lots of people who love what he does, paying many thousands of pounds for it and considering it to be incredible art.
But there are others who don’t support what he does and consider it to be vandalism.
Some of his graffiti has been painted over soon after it appeared.
There is a debate about why Banksy’s work can be protected as ‘art’ when other graffiti artists are prosecuted and sometimes even put in prison for doing the same thing.
Some of his work is also controversial because of what he does with it.
At an exhibition of his work in London in 2005, he released 200 live rats in the gallery. Rats are a common theme in his work.
How expensive is his work?
Banksy was enough of an artistic celebrity by the early 2000s that his work would sell for a lot of money.
In an auction in 2008, a piece of work called Keep It Spotless was sold for $1.8m – that’s just over £1 million.
In the same year, a mobile home that had a piece of Banksy artwork on it was given a £500,000 price tag. This was all because of the artwork that it had on the side.
When Banksy leaves his artwork on buildings, there can sometimes be arguments about who owns the pieces and what should be done with them, as they are very valuable.
Sometimes people want to sell them to raise money for a cause, while others think the works should be left to be enjoyed by others.
(Full article originally published on BBC)
Like Banksy? Check out these hot emerging artists
If you like Banksy but think his astronomic prices might have become be a tad steep you might find solace in knowing there are some younger artists following his trail who have received great response by public and media alike and are showing great signs.
1. Van Donna
- Van Donna = Van Gogh + Madonna. Both are the artist’s personal heroes and inspiration.
- An active philanthropist, the artist was selected to donate an original painting sold at the Terrence Higgins Trust annual charitable auction.
- She saw her debut at auctions in Christies’s London successfully selling an original paintings for several thousands of pounds.
- A selection of her artworks was added to the permanent collection of the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg and the Freud Museum in London. Van Donna’s works have been exhibited in sold-out shows in NYC, Dubai and Riyadh in the show “Riyadh Underground” created by members of the Saudi Royal Family.
- Van Donna counts in celebrity fans like Ringo Starr who picked “All You Need Is Love” as his favourite of her artworks. Top Warhol, Banksy Rothko collectors, global top 500 CEO’s, Royal Families and Heads Of State as well as many celebrities are adding Van Donna artworks to their collections.
- British artist Van Donna recently made the news after the Daily Mail reported that Prince Harry added her diptych ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’ to his own collection, presumably as a love gift for his now bride-to-be Meghan Markle.
RECOMMENDED ARTWORKS BY VAN DONNA
- The creator of the “GoodFellas” spoof piece – a true smash and irresistibly relevant – E$COBAR’s tag name comes from Pablo Escobar, antihero of the Netflix smash series Narcos.
- His artworks explore the Western world’s culture, its values and its contradictions appealing to the
Western, MiddleEastern and Eastern cultures at the same time.
- Global top 500 CEO’s, Royal Families, Heads Of State as well as many celebrities, football players and TV
personalities are adding his works to their collections.
- E$COBAR has been featured in sold-out shows in London, NY, Dubai and Riyadh, sold pieces at
auctions and had a dedicated one night event at London’s top night club Maddox.
RECOMMENDED ARTWORKS BY E$COBAR
Dubbed “The female Banksy”, street artist Bambi, whose fans range from Robbie Williams to Rihanna, reveals the importance of social issues and feminism to her work – but offers few hints as to her identity.
Her work decorates the streets and underpasses of north London, as well as the homes of everyone from Kanye West and Rihanna to Robbie Williams and Adele, but – like her male counterpart Banksy – Britain’s best-known female street artist has gone to great lengths to preserve her anonymity…