Banksy! Regardless of anyone's prior knowledge of art, the name Banksy will no doubt ring a bell for most. Banksy is a pseudonym of a British artist and has become a mythical figure in the world of art. His true identity is unknown; once started as a graffiti artist and has now grown into one of the most valued modern artists in the world.
Banksy's art has evolved from graffiti on street walls to canvas paintings, conceptual sculptures and even film. The provocative Banksy documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop", nominated for an Academy Award, gave an exclusive look into the artist's mind and what art is.
The critical art of the secret vandal is usually humorous and political in nature. Banksy uses art to express his dissatisfaction with social issues and tries to stimulate/provoke society with his work.
Despite many stunts and the great publicity that has been generated around the person Banksy, the international star of street art has managed to keep his identity secret. Although there are various theories about his possible identity, none of them have yet proved true.
The different theories about the person Banksy
In 2008, the British newspaper The Daily On Sunday declared that they had finally solved the mystery. In fact, a picture of British street artist Robin Gunningham shows two of Banksy's distinctive templates.
With some puzzles, they found out that Gunningham, like the famous anonymous artist, came from Bristol. According to the stories, Banksy lived in an apartment in Bristol, just like Gunningham. And, as a blow to the arrow, Banksy's artwork began to flourish in London around the time Robin Gunnigham moved to the city.
However, when a journalist visited Gunningham's parents to collect the last piece of the puzzle, they claimed not to recognize the person in the photo...
In 2016, there was a spectacular turn of events when researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of Spatial Science study, claimed to have sufficient evidence to positively identify Robert Gunnigham as Banksy.
They used a scientific technique that is usually reserved for criminals: geographical profiling. By linking Banksy's 192's work to the places Gunnigham visited, the team of researchers could prove that even if Banksy is not Robin Gunnigham, this hypothesis remains the most plausible.
In 2016, a new hypothesis emerged that Banksy would be the lead singer of Massive Attack: Robert del Naja. Certain coincidences are difficult to ignore: del Naja, also from Bristol, was involved in street art. And that is not all: Robert del Naja also appeared in Banksy's documentary "Exit through the Gift Shop" and always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
A comparison between the cities on the tour of the band and Banksy's work shows a clear connection. Of course, it could all be a coincidence. The singer has denied these claims by declaring that "it would be a beautiful story, but unfortunately not true".
During an interview in June 2017, British DJ Goldie, a good friend of Robert del Naja, released some information that was not unnoticed. On the contemporary art which he criticized, he said; "He said, Give me a bubble font, put it on a T-shirt and write Banksy on it, and we've succeeded. We can sell it now. With all due respect to Robert, I think he's a brilliant artist. I think he's changed the art world."After his spread, Goldie changes the subject. Is Robert a reference to Robert del Naja? We still don't know.
None of these theorie s have enough evidence to establish with certainty the identity of the world's most famous street artist, and so the mystery remains unsolved.
The "art" of a joke: Banksy's five infamous stunts
Banksy created his own twisted version of Disneyland in 2015. This theme park, called Dismaland, was a temporary art installation in the United Kingdom depicting an apocalyptic "magical kingdom". The tourist brochure read: "Are you looking for an alternative to the soulless banality of the average family day? Or just somewhere cheaper. Then this is the place for you-- a chaotic new world where you can escape mindless escape. Some of the main attractions in the park were a'Car Crash Princess','Head in the Clouds','Burning Archers Books'and a muddy looking'Ice Cream Van'.
The Diana tens
In 2004, during the annual Notting Hill Carnival and Reading Festival, Banksy replaced the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the 10th note with an image of the late Princess Diana (embarrassing!).
One million were distributed to "Di-faced Tenners", with some recipients carrying the notes for days until they tried to spend, then discovering that they were counterfeit.
The smiling Mona Lisa
The Louvre in Paris houses some of the world's most prestigious works of art, from some of the most famous artists in history, ranging from Rembrandt to Leonardo da Vinci.
In 2004, Banksy directed his arrows at the Mona Lisa, the crown jewel in the Louvre collection. In disguise, the artist entered the museum and hung his own version with a sour smile, while avoiding both the authorities and museum staff. Ironically, the painting was sold in 2006 for more than 56.000 pounds.
"35; 2"Pop-up"store in New York
In 2013, Banksy set up a pop-up shop near Central Park in New York. What appeared to be a stall filled with cheap rip-offs of his work turned out to be in reality the original stencil work of the artist, which was sold for only $60 (his stencils usually sold for more than $20.000).
It took four hours for someone to take something from the merchandise. The first person was a woman who, note well, negotiated the price down before she bought anything. A man who bought four great works of art said he was "just looking for something to hang on his walls." All the stencils were signed by Banksy, one even had his phone number on it.
By the shredder
One of Banksy's last stunts took place in 2018 during an art auction at Sotheby's when one of his most famous stencils "Girl with Balloon" was auctioned. When the hammer came down on the winning bid of 1,04 million pounds, the print rolled down to frighten the crowd by a shredder.
Banksy later published a video showing how he installed the shredder in the frame, a few years before the auction took place, to make sure that no one could enjoy it if it was ever sold.
Unfortunately (or just happily, depending on how you look at it) the device did not work properly and stopped shredding partially. Banksy claims in the video that "during rehearsals it worked every time".
The auction house publicly stated that it had no part in the joke, with Sotheby's senior director Alex Branczik saying, "It looks like we're just Banksy-ed." In the end, the winning bidder decided to keep the artwork, with some claiming that the joke ironically increased the art value.
Banksy works of art
Banksy conquers the hearts and minds of all generations. The art he makes is considered complex and emotional, yet easy to understand and appreciate. It is an incredibly rare and pleasant combination in the art world and one that is reflected in the rapidly rising prices of his work in the secondary market. Banksy's an artist we can all be proud of.
Also become a proud owner of a Banksy artwork? Modern art has a beautiful collection handcrafted paper inspired by Banksy's work, using original TACs (original Banksy templates).