BANKSY is a graffiti activist painter with a purpose, to be provocative. The greatness of this person is that, after 20 years working and being well-known by his graffiti paintings, people still not know who he really is, his identity is a mystery. I think that is what makes the paintings and everything he makes so interesting; it is amazing how someone can be hidden for so long. The only picture that we have of this person is one that he supplied, it was a picture of him with a recyclable (as he is an activist) paper bag covering his head.
With all the intrigue he creates, he wants to keep the attention of everyone to be able to spread his messages, these messages are against the society, not against the people but against the way people act, the way people are.
When he started painting he wouldn’t have even thought that he would become what he is now: an artist icon of self esteem and opinions. But he do not started being famous, he started painting the walls of the houses of Bristol, England in 1999. Nevertheless, his success has been so powerful that nowadays its paintings are all around the world, specially at Vienna, San Francisco, Barcelona, Paris and Detroit. He has changed his method of work, when he started what he did was “illegal” as he painted in wall of public buildings, therefore at the moment he do it in a more legal way, he paint in canvas and do sculptures with what the artist earns millions of dollars in the British and American auctions. He is also get himself present in the film world as he has recorded a documental called “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, he almost won the Academy Awards, so he might not be bad. However, he has not stopped painting in the street, at that is the “sign” of the artist, his real self. We do not know who he is but what is true is that he is a great artist, as he is great in any artistic project he wants to be committed to.
Additionally, with his paintings he has create a completely subculture, people who follow his techniques, his intelligence in expressing his disconfirm whit the current society… What is amazing is that Banksy does not need to spend any time in finding the best place to do his work, what he does is make the place perfect for his work, it does not matter were he does it, it is going to end up being perfect and awesome.
Even though his identity is unknown he has work with a lot of media channels and with well-known celebrities who had asked him to help them with their creative part of their advertisement campaign. For instance, wo remarkable persons who have asked him for help are Obama and Lady Gaga. Moreover, he is also present in the social medias where his images become viral in just a few hours. He has also had partnerships with another great artist who have helped him to improve his work as he they have shared their knowledge, one example is Inkie, a notable graffiti street artist.
You would be thinking if the artist has ever had problems with the law due to his illegal work. The answer is: almost. When he was 18 he was part of a very known graffiti group, the DryBreadZ crew. The police tried to arrest them because they were “vandalizing”, Banksy was lucky, he was quick enough to hide in a garbage truck. When he was there, so scared, he got focused on the stencil letter on the truck, as this was a fast way of painting from that moment he decided that was going to be his new art method combined with spray paintings. Furthermore, he thought about his aim: to against everything that he feels that is not right. In his work he also benefits from the street itself, as the signals, the windows…he implement them in his work.
His artwork is often satirical and combines dark humor with messages across art, philosophy, and politics.
An example of this dark humor is that he went to Palestine and some Muslim countries and he stenciled nine images of the Bethlehem. Obviously this became viral in the internet and it was shared and really commented. But, from my point of view, even if the artist is doing a successful performance in the marketing strategy as he is being even more well-known with this kind of works, this is an act of disrespectful, which I do not like.
The “Banksy Effect” is the inspiration that the artist provoke in other young artist who want to become as him and follow his creative path. Banksy indirectly encourages them to be free of express their own opinion, to say what they feel that is not fair, to be open-minded and try to make the world a better place.
Banksy once says:
“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative, and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”
From my point of view Banksy does not want to reveal his identity because even though this makes his work be a bit mysterious, it is also because he has become rich by doing something illegal, by painting the public buildings, so he may run into troubles if he reveals who he is. Therefore, I understand that for him not saying anything is the best option. Silence and be anonymous was his key to success one day and now it is his protection.