Banksy, a street artist shrouded in mystery, is believed to have been born in Bristol in the early 1970s. He rose to prominence with his provocative stencilled pieces which started appearing on the streets of Bristol in the late 1990s.
His name (or pseudonym) has become synonymous with graffiti culture and modern art installations and he is the subject of a 2010 documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which examines the relationship between commercial and street art. He is arguably the most controversial street artist in the world and has developed an entire art subculture devoted to his work. He has had a huge influence on public perceptions of graffiti and the artistic use of public spaces changing the way that many people view art altogether. As the artist’s fame continues to grow, Banksy’s street art has become a tourist attraction in the artist’s supposed hometown of Bristol.
Banksy can impact any location at any given moment. His work can be found on streets, walls and bridges all over the world but his identityremains unknown. Even after 20 years of being involved with the graffiti scene, Banksy refuses to be interviewed and keeps his identity carefully maintained. A world-renowned mystery man, Banksy has risen through the ranks to become one of the world’s greatest street artists partly by creating an urgency to understand his character.
The most common medium Banksy uses is spray paint over multi-layered stencils along with free hand painting. He also includes anything found in the streets like street signs and other objects to convey his message. These subversive and satirical artworks often use dark humour to provide social and political commentary and regularly feature anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment slogans.
By the early 2000s, Banksy relocated to London, where he began to gain notoriety and even worked on a series of international exhibits. He has travelled to Palestine and the West Bank where he stencillednine images on the Wall of Bethlehem. These images were an instant hit and virally exploded onto the Internet. Banksy’s artwork has been seen across the world. His travels have included Australia, England, the United States, Israel, Jamaica, and even Canada. Most recently, he spent an entire month glamorizing New York City with his street art, which grabbed the attention of thousands every day.
In the summer 2015, Banksy organised a temporary art project called Dismaland, a dystopian theme park built in the seaside resort town of Weston-Super-Mare transforming the derelict Tropicana lido. Prepared in secret, the project unveiled 10 new works by Banksy and pieces from 58 other artists.
Collectors of Banksy include Damien Hirst, Kate Moss, Jake Gyllenhaal, Christina Aguilera, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Drake, to name a few.