BIOGRAPHY FOR BANKSY
SIGNED PRINTS & ORIGINALS
Banksy is an anonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. Banksy's work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Banksy says that he was inspired by 3D, a graffiti artist who later became a founding member of the English musical group Massive Attack.
Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. Banksy does not sell photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, but art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder. Banksy created a documentary film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, billed as "the world's first street art disaster movie", which made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film was released in the UK on 5 March 2010. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film. In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.
Banksy started as a freehand graffiti artist in 1990–1994 as one of Bristol's DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ), with two other artists known as Kato and Tes. He was inspired by local artists and his work was part of the larger Bristol underground scene with Nick Walker, Inkie and 3D. During this time he met Bristol photographer Steve Lazarides, who began selling Banksy's work, later becoming his agent. By 2000 he had turned to the art of stencilling after realising how much less time it took to complete a work. He claims he changed to stencilling while hiding from the police under a rubbish lorry, when they noticed the stencilled serial number and by employing this technique, he soon became more widely noticed for his art around Bristol and London. He was the goalkeeper for the Easton Cowboys and Cowgirls football team in the 1990s, and toured with the club to Mexico in 2001. Banksy's first known large wall mural was The Mild Mild West painted in 1997 to cover advertising of a former solicitors' office on Stokes Croft in Bristol. It depicts a teddy bearlobbing a Molotov cocktail at three riot police.
Banksy's stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects often include rats, apes, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly.In July 2011 one of Banksy's early works, Gorilla in a Pink Mask, which had been a prominent landmark on the exterior wall of a former social club in Eastville for over ten years, was unwittingly painted over after the premises became a Muslim cultural centre.
On 19 June 2002, Banksy's first Los Angeles exhibition debuted at 331⁄3 Gallery, a tiny Silver Lake venue owned by Frank Sosa. The exhibition, entitled Existencilism, was curated by 331⁄3 Gallery, Malathion LA's Chris Vargas, Funk Lazy Promotions' Grace Jehan, and B+.
In 2003, at an exhibition called Turf War, held in a London warehouse, Banksy painted on animals. At the time he gave one of his very few interviews, to the BBC's Nigel Wrench. Although the RSPCA declared the conditions suitable, an animal rights activist chained herself to the railings in protest. An example of his subverted paintings is Monet's Water Lily Pond, adapted to include urban detritus such as litter and a shopping trolley floating in its reflective waters; another is Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, redrawn to show that the characters are looking at a British football hooligan, dressed only in his Union Flag underpants, who has just thrown an object through the glass window of the cafe. These oil paintings were shown at a twelve-day exhibition in Westbourne Grove, London in 2005.
Banksy, along with Shepard Fairey, Dmote and others created work at a warehouse exhibition in Alexandria, Sydney for Semi-Permanent in 2003. Approximately 1,500 people attended.
In August 2004, Banksy produced a quantity of spoof British £10 notes replacing the picture of the Queen's head with Diana, Princess of Wales's head and changing the text "Bank of England" to "Banksy of England". Someone threw a large wad of these into a crowd at Notting Hill Carnival that year, which some recipients then tried to spend in local shops. These notes were also given with invitations to a Santa's Ghetto exhibition by Pictures on Walls. The individual notes have since been selling on eBay for about £200 each. A wad of the notes were also thrown over a fence and into the crowd near the NME signing tent at the Reading Festival. A limited run of 50 signed posters containing ten uncut notes were also produced and sold by Pictures on Walls for £100 each to commemorate the death of Princess Diana. One of these sold in October 2007 at Bonhams auction house in London for £24,000.
In August 2005, Banksy, on a trip to the Palestinian territories, created nine images on the Israeli West Bank wall.
Banksy held an exhibition called Barely Legal, billed as a "three-day vandalised warehouse extravaganza" in Los Angeles, on the weekend of 16 September 2006. The exhibition featured a live "elephant in a room", painted in a pink and gold floral wallpaper pattern, which, according to leaflets handed out at the exhibition, was intended to draw attention to the issue of world poverty. Although the Animal Services Department had issued a permit for the elephant, after complaints from animal rights activists, the elephant appeared unpainted on the final day. Its owners rejected claims of mistreatment and said that the elephant had done "many, many movies. She's used to makeup." Banksy also made artwork displaying Queen Victoria as a lesbian and satirical pieces that incorporated art made by Andy Warhol and Leonardo da Vinci.
Banksys artworks are often satirical pieces of art on topics such as politics, culture and ethics. The art Movements he explores are Anit-capitalism and consumerism in pieces such as; Banksy, print, signed ‘Barcode’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Very Little Helps’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Morons’ (sepia). Banksy, print, signed ‘Morons’ (white). Banksy, print, signed ‘Donut Strawberry’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Donut Chocolate’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Destroy Capitalism’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Sale Ends Today’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Because I’m Worthless’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Trolley Hunters (Trolleys). Banksy, print, signed ‘Trolley Hunters (Monochrome). Banksy, print, signed ‘Serpentine Can’t Beat That Feeling’ And Banksy, print, signed ‘Christ with Shopping Bags’. Anti-War in works such as; Banksy, print, signed ‘Have a nice day’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Gold Flag’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Applause’. Banksy, signed, print ‘Napalm’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Golf Sale’. Banksy print signed ‘Bomb Hugger’. Banksy, print, signed ‘CND Soldiers’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Flag’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Happy Choppers’ And Banksy, print, signed ‘Stop and Search’. Anarchism in; Banksy, print, signed ‘Love is in the air’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Flying copper’. Banksy, print, signed ‘I fought the Law’. And Banksy, print, signed ‘Rude Copper’. And Atheism in; Banksy, print, signed ‘Virgin Mary’ (Toxic Mary). Banksy, print, signed ‘Christ with Shopping Bags’.
Banksy’s stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans; Banksy, print, signed ‘Because I’m Worthless’ and Banksy, print, signed ‘Get Out While You Can’ Subjects often include rats; Banksy, print, signed ‘Love Rat’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Radar Rat’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Welcome to Hell’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Gangster Rat’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Sonic Rat’. Monkeys; Banksy, print, signed ‘Laugh Now’. And Children; Banksy, print, signed ‘Jack and Jill'(Police Kids). Banksy, print, signed ‘Girl with Balloon’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Nola ‘(Grey Rain). And the elderly; Banksy, print, signed ‘Bombing Middle England’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Grannies’.
Banksy is also famous for ‘graffiting’ notable art pieces in 2004 he walked into the Louvre in Paris and hung on a wall a picture he had painted resembling the Mona Lisa with a yellow smiley face. Also in this vein are; Banksy, print, signed ‘Kate’ (green). Banksy, print, signed ‘Kate’ (grey). Banksy, print, signed ‘Kate’ (pink). Banksy, print, signed ‘Kate’ (brown). Banksy, print, signed ‘Kate’ (red). Banksy, print, signed ‘Kate’ (purple). Banksy, print, signed ‘Kate’ (Original Colour) And Banksy, print, signed ‘Soup Can (Quad)’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Soup Can’ (green/red). Banksy, print, signed ‘Soup Can’ (orange/red). Banksy, print, signed ‘Soup Can’ (yellow/green). Banksy, print, signed ‘Soup Can’ (turquoise/pink). A yellow smiley face is also to be found in; Banksy, print, signed ‘Grin Reaper’.
In August 2004, Banksy produced a quantity of spoof British £10 notes substituting the picture of the Queen’s head with Princess Diana’s head and changing the text “Bank of England” to “Banksy of England.” Banksy, print, signed ‘Di-Faced Notes.’ Banksy, print, signed ‘Di-Faced Notes’ (pink). Queens and Prime Ministers are also included as subjects in his work; Banksy, print, signed ‘Queen Vic’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Monkey Queen’. Banksy, print, signed ‘Turf War’.
In 2007, Transport for London painted over Banksy’s iconic image of a scene from Quentin Taratino’s Pulp Fiction, with Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta clutching bananas instead of guns. Although the image was very popular, Transport for London claimed that the ‘graffiti’ created a general atmosphere of neglect and social decay which in turn encourages crime”. Banksy, print, signed ‘pulp Fiction’.