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Banksy – My Hero | ColorMute

Banksy – My Hero

Banksy. I could go on and on about Banksy. Probably my favorite graffiti artist of all time. The man has done the most daring, blaring and cut throat social commentary to date. He stenciled 30 ft. across the steps of Nelson’s Column “Designated Riot Area” in broad day light, he’s illegally installed his own “art” in the Tate, the Met, MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, and when England tried to bestow the Turner Prize on him for contemporary art he spray painted “Mind the Crap” endlessly along the Tate’s main stairs in protest. The man went to Palestine and spray painted a storm of murals depicting windows to a happier place along the barrier wall of Israel to display the unfair and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians.  Simply put, the man is a legend.

This painting of a beetle armed as a fighter jet hung in the American Museum of Natural History for two days before being discovered.  Banksy of course installing it himself.

This piece hung in the British Museum of Art for 3 days before being discovered.

Known only to have grown up in Bristol, England, the man is otherwise shrouded in mystery.  After years working the streets with his iconic rats his art is now on display in the Tate Modern and many of his images are internationally recognized (His stencil of two british police officers embracing in a kiss is even featured in the film “Children of Men).

He’s had multiple “underground” shows and more currently some well funded displays curated by his own hand.  He’s remembered for filling an entire gallery with rats which ran underfoot as patrons walked wall to wall to see his installations, or once he rented a barn and spray painted slogans and images on the animals while others were dressed as police officers in a petting zoo like environment.  In 2007 he rented a small shop in the West Village and advertised it as a pet shop.  It featured automated fish sticks swimming in a bowl, a chimpanzee watching animal planet on tv in a cage and birds in the store front window made out of CCTV cameras.  Probably the most disturbing was the mother hen watching her babies who were fashioned from chicken nuggets drink from McDonald’s BBQ sauce containers.

He had a show open in his home town of Bristol to wide acclaim last year, thousands showed up on the first day to see the collection.  A burned out ice cream truck with a massive melted ice cream cone on its roof, a police man in full riot gear riding a ¢25 automated pony, and various ironic takes on classic paintings and sculpture.  Always tongue in cheek, Banksy pokes playful fun at the disturbing world around him.

Banksy continues to inspire guerilla artists around the world with his defiance of convention and playful use of public terrain to make his point.  His icon of the rat appeared all around NYC last Summer during a campaign in conjunction with his pet shop.  In downtown one rat listening to an ipod was featured on an 8 story building.  No longer necessary to lurk in the shadows, Banksy now has the funding and the respect to tackle larger projects without the threat of the law, well, for the most part.  In 2004 he installed a 3.5 ton bronze statute of Lady Justice wearing garters stuffed with dollar bills, leather boots and a thong.

By installed I mean he cemented it into a public park.   It’s said the statue cost £22,000 to make and he was forced by authorities to remove it for an undisclosed amount.  Banksy works hard to keep his identity shrouded, it keeps up the hype and the allure of him as a continuing vagrant artist (though many believe he is Robert Banks, 32).  Powered by his mystery persona he isn’t held accountable for anything, he doesn’t have to explain his art and for the most part its glaringly obvious the meaning he is portraying.  His art focus’ our own lives back upon us with complete satire the monkeys we are, the rats we have become, and the authorities who work relentlessly to keep us so.  For now, with his career sky rocketing and his paintings selling for ten times the projected value, he is sure to keep his true identity in the shadows.  Perhaps its the allure, perhaps its the standing charges still held agaisnt him.


    • Raza
    • February 23rd, 2012

    Nice One Banksy

    • Raza
    • February 23rd, 2012

    Nice Ajaz Ur Butterz You Fat Child Chiken Tika

    • JP
    • March 15th, 2012

    MY FAV ARTIST, his work speaks to me and inspires me. Saw his work in Green Day and 30 Seconds to Mars music videos

    • katie bannister and tori
    • May 20th, 2013

    well done thats really good

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