Artist Biography - Banksy
Banksy is a mystery. The artist is believed to be a native of Yate, South Gloucestershire, near Bristol and to have been born in 1974, but there is substantial public uncertainty about this persons identity, personal and biographical details.
Banksy has arguably become one of the most famous artists of all time. Paradoxically however, despite his fame, his identity is s...till unknown. Beginning his career in the early 1990s as a freehand graffiti artist writing on the walls of his hometown of Bristol, where it is said that he became a member of DryBreadZ (DBZ) where he was inspired by iconic French graffiti artist Blek Le Rat and local street artists like Inkie and Robert Del Naja, also known as 3D, a graffiti artist and member of the band Massive Attack.
Banksy started out his career creating his graffiti work largely freehand, but soon turned to stencils, allowing him to execute his work on walls of cities around the globe much more quickly (certainly quick enough to evade the police) after having a near arrested at 18. Over the years he has also worked as a painter, a film director, and a political activist, and has become a symbol of modern British culture, seen as a British social, political and artistic icon.
Often including anti-establishment, anti-war, and anti-capitalist overtones, his striking images are usually spiced with humor and irony. Banksy’s controversial yet broadly popular style has captured the attention of the world throughout the past two decades, combining astute cynicism with entertaining quirks.
Banksy's work is reliant on his ability to use dark humor and sardonic wit to trick audiences into thinking about serious messages about capitalism, advertising, politics, and humanity that underpin his work. Banksy's use of public space and the streets as a canvas, means that the artist remains true to guerilla art's historical canon, being that the commodification of art is sacrilege in the validation of an artist within only a specific art market.
His work has come in the form of two-dimensional and installation art, providing a striking and controversial political and social commentary on the modern world. Spotted on walls, bridges and streets of various cities around the globe. Although he is synonymous with his signature graffiti stencil style, Banksy has also won multiple awards for his film direction - e.g. his 2010 film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop.’
The unveiling of a new Banksy works often incorporates pranks or performance. For example, he secretly added his own pieces in museums like the Tate Modern in London or the Paris Louvre, smuggling them in under a coat and discreetly affixing them to a wall.
Banksy was also the mastermind behind 'Dismaland'. The artist took over the abandoned Tropicana lido in Weston-super-Mare, creating a decaying festival of art. Over 58 international artists exhibited, including Damien Hirst in the Disneyland themed spectacle, it attracted 200,000 visitors in its 36-day stint. Keeping in with the artists usual themes, you could feast your eyes upon themes such as immigration and sexual harrassment. However, critics didnt take to it well and labelled the show as 'Banksy's Bemusment Park' and that he used art as click-bait.
In recent years Banksy has been a regular feature of world news - stencilling nine images on Bethlehem Wall on the Israeli West Bank and destroying one of his most famous artworks 'Girl with the ballon' live at a Sotheby's auction - passing the canvas through a hidden shredder installed in the frame in front of a large and stunned crowd soon after the hammer came down.