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Why is Bansky so Famous?

by Luke Shen

When it comes to the art world, there is no artist more infamous than Bansky. This artist from Bristol, United Kingdom found his voice through graffiti at the age of 15. Bansky explains that, as a teenager, he wanted to “make his mark”, and what better way to do it than graffiti? Three years later, in one of his artistic endeavors, Banksy found himself under a dump truck to evade the cops. Afterall, he had taken too long to complete his piece. During this time, Bansky surveyed the belly of the truck, finding a stenciled plate underneath the fuel tank. To cut his time in half, Bansky realized that using a stencil would make the process of painting much faster, and so his signature style was born. 

Throughout his career, Bansky has created several motifs in his pieces, such as rats, children, police, and rioters. These depictions have sparked outrage amongst society. This controversial factor can be broken down into two parts. First off, graffiti often depicts his take on political or social problems. His pieces include satirical jabs at the government, capitalism, and more. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, is how Bansky executes his artwork. His art is firstly and blatantly vandalism. Some of his more infamous pieces include his self-installations into the Louvre, his painting of paradise on the Israeli West Bank barrier, and Dismaland. For example, his self installations into the Lourve include a Mona Lisa with a smiley face on it and the queen as a chimpanzee. Obviously, putting a picture of your own art into a museum is already outrageous enough, but putting a picture of THE QUEEN as a CHIMPANZEE? That is another level of outrageous!

Naturally, with these stunts came a lot of attention. Many supporters championed his methods, bringing the public’s responses and posting them as advertisements back to those in power. Similarly, others disliked his pieces for obviously being vandalism. Naturally, with this influx of popularity, Bansky scaled up the size of his projects, creating the Bethlehem Hotel, an area for discussion regarding the Israel Palestine conflict, and Barely Legal, an exhibit that featured an “elephant in the room”. Bansky’s reputation forced the art market to recognize his street art, and his value skyrocketed. His pieces gained in value, and ironically, went against his anti-capitalist values, after having his pieces auctioned for millions of dollars



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