Banksy is a graffiti artist who you may or may not have heard of despite his headline grabbing work in New York City recently. Like me, you may have heard the name but without much context or further information. I first heard of the artist while reading a funny article on Buzzfeed about an adorable dog who was caught peeing on a small street side work. Soon after a friend living in New York snapped a picture of the Sirens of the Lambs truck driving bye. The name caught my eye again and I filed the information in the back of my head for later research. Not surprisingly just as quickly as I saw the image I forgot it. That was until Yahoo ran an article about an op-ed piece he had written that was rejected by the New York Times. That’s when I decided to find out what this Banksy chatter was all about. After some simple Googling, I found out that he is a British artist currently taking up residency in the Big Apple although his work can be found in several world cities. Although mainly know for street art, he is also a director, political activist and painter.
I must admit my first impression was of the Banky was quite negative. The Yahoo article discussed his failed op-ed piece about the new tower being built on the 9/11 site. He bashed the tower because he felt it was a boring architectural compromise. The whole story reeked of a cry for publicity and attention. I got the feeling that he was more stunt man than artist and I was ready to roll my eyes. However, after looking through the images of his signature stencil work I realized I was completely wrong. There was a delicate subversive humor and wit to his pieces that I didn’t expect. Rather than cover a random wall with generic tags, his work was clever and often is influenced by the surrounding. For example, a stone arch is transformed into a bridge for two Japanese geisha girls. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed what I saw. Rarely has my opinion taken such a turn. I look forward to seeing more of his past and future works and hopefully I’ve peeked your interest enough to give him a look as well.
All images are from New York City and can be found on http://www.banksy.co.uk/