Banksy is probably the world's most famous, albeit anonymous, street artist. He is best known for his satirical graffiti and subversive epigrams done in his distinctive, stenciling technique. These are often multi-layered, and combined with other media sources, such as spray-paint. His art is found on streets, walls, and bridges in cities throughout the world. Banksy's work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians.
Although in his early days he sold photos and reproductions of his street graffiti, now his public "installations" are, themselves, regularly resold. Entire sections of walls have even been removed in order to preserve his creations. But curiously enough, even after more than 20 years on the scene, Banksy's true identity remains unknown.
Banksy's Early Yearss
Active since the early 1990s, Banksy first began his graffiti art lifestyle influenced by the work of Blek Le Rat. Initially, he hung around a graffiti crew in Bristol by the name of the DryBreadZ crew, or DBZ. When Banksy first started out in the 1090s, graffiti was considered to be nothing more than vandalism. One day, while fleeing the police, Banksy hid under a garbage truck. Seeing the stenciled lettering on the truck, he was struck with the idea that it was a much faster way to paint.
"As I lay there listening to the cops on the tracks, I realized I had to cut my painting time in half or give it up altogether. I was staring straight up at the stenciled plate on the bottom of the fuel tank. When I realized I could just copy that style and make each letter three feet high.”
Banksy decided then that stenciling would be the method he would use to create his images. His artwork often combines dark humor and satirical, a includes commentary on a variety of subjects, philosophical, political, and artistic.
Success In London
By the early 2000s, Banksy had relocated from Bristol to to London, where he began to gain notoriety. He has since worked on a series of international exhibits. He even traveled to Palestine and the West Bank, where he stenciled a series of nine images on the Bethlehem Wall.
Nowadays, Banksy’s silkscreen prints and stencil paintings fetch record-breaking sales in art auctions such as Sotheby’s and Bonham’s of London. His successes have even crossed over into the literary and film worlds.
His ID Remain a Mystery
Banksy refuses interviews, and keeps his identity carefully hidden. What is even more interesting is that he has managed to completely conceal his identity from his family. Speculators claim he is a Bristol native by the name of Robin Gunninham. But no one knows for certain. And yet, Banksy has risen through the ranks to become the world's most popular street artist. His influence on the art world has even spawned a term known as the 'Banksy Effect'.
Undoubtedly, Banksy has influenced the local street art to be found right here in Vancouver.