Street art is name for art performed or developed in the streets or some other public space. No matter it is not recognized as a conventional art, street art has many admirers and supporters, people ready to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a peace of wall decorated with a signature of some famous street artist. One of the artists whose works were bought by Christina Aguilera, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who stags secret exhibitions all around the world and who has been called both a genius and a vandal, originates from Bristol. At least, it is believed so since he keeps his identity a secret. He’s adored by millions and hated by even more. Meet Banksy – one of the world’s most (in)famous stencil graffiti artists.
Banksy started his “career” in the 1990’s as a freehand graffiti artist but soon switched to stenciling because it takes less time and time is an important factor when you’re trying to evade the police. His humorous, anti-war and anti-establishment pictures and slogans quickly became noticeable all around Bristol, Brighton and London, and in the following years he managed to leave his mark across the ocean, in the USA and Australia. In the year 2002, Banksy started his series of exhibitions, and last year the world premiere of the film Exit Through the Gift Shop occurred at the Sundance Film Festival.
This controversial artist is known for his headline-making stunts, like leaving a rubber doll in a Guantanamo prisoner’s uniform in Disneyland and hanging his version of Mona Lisa with a smile in the Louvre.
But, the most provocative thing about Banksy is that his true identity has been kept secret for all these years. Many people claim to know who he really is, many journalists have tried to discover the same thing, but without much success.
So, while staying in England, why not try to play a detective and discover who Banksy as an artist is? There are cheap bus lines from all bigger cities, so you can follow the trail of Banksy’s works from the “One nation under CCTV“ in Newman Street, through the Old Street with “The Guardian Angel” to “The girl embracing the TV“ near Covent Garden all in London. The trail will lead you to Brighton’s “Kissing Coppers” and then to Bristol, Banksy’s hometown, where you’ll see one of the city’s landmarks – “The Mild Mild West”, showing a teddy bear aiming a Molotov cocktail at riot police, the mural “A Naked Man”, with a husband looking down the street, his wife in the background and a naked man hanging out of the window, and “A Girl Has a Surprise for a Boy”. For some extra money, you can go road-tripping around the USA and check Banksy’s works in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York or examine his heritage in Melbourne, Australia. You never know, maybe you will be one of the few lucky enough to meet Banksy himself?
If you want to know more about Banksy, read The Story Behind Banksy on Smithsonian
Image source: Public Domain Pictures