Banksy is a British street artist who uses his art to question the values of society. His works are in Bristol, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and in several other cities around the globe.
Banksy is the pseudonym of a graffiti artist, canvas painter, political activist and British film director. His satirical and subversive street art combines black humour and graffiti made with a distinct stencil technique.
His social and political commentary works can be found on streets, walls and bridges in cities around the world. Banksy’s work was born out of the Bristol alternative scene, and involved collaborations with other artists and musicians.
According to graphic designer and author Tristan Manco, Banksy was born in 1974 in Bristol (England), where he was also raised. The son of a photocopier technician, he started out as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the big aerosol boom in Bristol in the late 1980s.
Observers noted that his style is very similar to Blek le Rat, who started working with stencils in 1981 in Paris, and the graffiti campaign carried out by the anarcho-punk band Crass on the London underground system in the late 1970s.
Known for his contempt for the government that labels graffiti as vandalism, Banksy exposes his art in public places such as walls and streets, and even use objects to expose it. Banksy does not sell his works directly, but it is known that art auctioneers tried to sell some of his graffiti in the places where they were made and left the problem of how to remove the design in the hands of buyers.
Banksy’s first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was officially released in the UK on March 5, 2010, and in January 2011 was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary.
His works are loaded with social content, clearly showing a total aversion to the concepts of authority and power. On screens and murals, he makes critics, usually social, but also behavioural and political, in an aggressive and sarcastic way, provoking in his observers, almost always, a feeling of agreement and identity. Although he does not make caricatures or humorous works, often, the first reaction of an observer to one of his works will be laughter. Spontaneous, involuntary and sincere, as well as his works.
Banksy in New York
On October 2013, Banksy was in New York for a whole month and did a series of works through the streets of the city. All of his interventions were posted on a website and ended up attracting the attention of residents and tourists. Among some of the works, there was a criticism of the construction of the One World Trade Center, a sculpture of a grumpy Ronald McDonald wearing a huge red shoe that was shined by a young human and a truck that was full of crying stuffed animals and they shouted symbolizing animals going to slaughter.
Exit through the gift shop
The urban art documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, was Banksy’s first film, having its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, being released in the UK on March 5, 2010. The following year, he was one of the nominees for the Oscar for Best Documentary.
The film, which features the transformation of a French documentary filmmaker called Thierry Guetta into an urban art phenomenon, Mr Brainwash, was singled out as a fraud by the international media. Even so, the film was acclaimed for its innovations in form and for bringing bust of several graffiti artists doing their works, among them Banksy himself and the French Invader.
If you are curious about the documentary, here is the trailer. Check it out:
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