The graffiti artist ‘Banksy’ has become a household name, yet no one knows who he is. With his most recent artwork on a London tube being wiped away to the great dismay of many, how has his spontaneous graffiti become so famous and treasured in the eyes of the public?
The first Banksy pieces started popping up in Bristol (his hometown) back in the 90s, yet they didn’t catch the public’s eye until the late 1990s/ early 2000s when some of his more satirical pieces were becoming recognised for their ingenuity.
Dispute as to who this hidden artist was circled the media, and he has successfully kept his identity a secret for more than 20 years with many speculations never being confirmed.
There is also the constant desire to uncover the man behind the spray paint can
Under his alias, it appears he has become alluring to the public through his anonymity. Without knowing who Banksy is, there is no way anyone can tell when he will strike next and this excites us.
There is also the constant desire to uncover the man behind the spray paint can, this kind of news coverage only boosts his name; we fuel his renown with our inquisition. With celebrities becoming intrigued in purchasing his work back in the early 2000’s, the demand began to rise for canvas pieces by the artist and with this demand came a lucrative price tag. A Banksy piece could now potentially be worth around £1,000,000. Houses and buildings have even been known to increase in value as a result of being the chosen canvas for one of the artist’s works.
Banksy is more than just a graffiti artist painting cool pictures, he is a man of opinion who displays that through the medium of art
He has grown to worldwide status and many households will likely have one of his pieces hung up (be it real or a copy). The fact that graffiti on the side of a building could be worth so much leaves the population in awe.
We marvel at the man and the work through a tinted perspective that makes us seem protective of the phenomenon he has begun. Yet, it is not just his lack of identity that has kept us in anticipation, but the political and satirical conversations sparked by his work. Banksy is more than just a graffiti artist painting cool pictures, he is a man of opinion who displays that through the medium of art.
Each new piece is either a clever play on its surrounding or a comment on the current social climate of the time. Take for example his most recent tube piece, rats were spray painted on the tube both holding hand sanitiser and sneezing- a clear comment on the current pandemic and the idea that we are the rats that carry disease.
He knows how to stay in headlines, whilst commenting on the fragility of his sought after work
This second layer of meaning behind his pieces adds value, both in the minds of spectators and art appraisers.
Banksy is clearly self-aware when it comes to the fascination with his pieces. When his auctioned ‘Balloon Girl’ painting sold for over £1 million, he had anticipated the success of the bidding as, after the gavel had dropped, the painting shredded itself, shocking the onlookers.
He knows how to stay in headlines, whilst commenting on the fragility of his sought after work. Fortunately, this prank only added more value. The pieces have become a national treasure and, if you happen to see one, you can guarantee that you are not the only one looking.
For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.