Contemporary Art with a Rock n'Roll edge!


Banksy is an anonymous British Street Artist, political activist, and counterculture icon. 

Banksy's work first appeared through the Bristol underground music and art scene in the 1990's. At age fourteen Banksy was expelled from secondary school, he also served time in prison for vandalism. 

Early graffiti works were created freehand on the streets of Bristol. Whilst hiding from police underneath a rubbish truck Banksy noticed a stencilled serial number on the underside of vehicle. This moment is cited as inspiring the conception of the now iconic Banksy stencils. The speed and boldness of the medium made it the perfect way to to evade the police when creating Street Art works. By the early 2000's Banksy stencil paintings had become his signature style as they began to appear on the streets of Bristol and London. 

The French Street artist Blek Le Rat had a very strong early influence on Banksy's work. Banksy's art is often politically motivated with an anti establishment and irreverent theme. 

Through the early 2000's Banksy created a number of highly controversial exhibitions and acts which brought his name firmly into the public consciousness.

These included producing counterfeit £10 notes replacing the Queen Victoria's head with that of Diana, Princess of Wales, and "The Bank of England" with "Banksy of England". The exhibition "Barely Legal" in 2006 held in Los Angeles featured a live Elephant and prints and paintings featuring Queen Victoria as a lesbian. These works were purchased by the pop star Christina Aguilera for £25,000, marking the beginning of "The Banksy Effect", whereby many Street artists works began to command new found status and much high prices within the art world establishment. 

Banksy's Street Art works have appeared cross the UK and USA, with many having been removed by the authorities for vandalism. Examples include:

Transport for London painting over a work depicting a scene from the Quentin Tanantino film Pulp Fiction featuring Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta clutching bananas instead of guns, due to its creating "a general atmosphere of neglect and social decay which in turn encourages crime".

Westminster Council removing a stencil of a child painting the tag "Take this—Society!" in bright orange on the Thames Water Tower in Holland Park Roundabout. 

The removal of a painting at a vacant petrol station in Birmingham, Alabama portraying a Ku Klux Klan figure hanging from a noose.

In 2010 Banksy directed the documentary film "Exit Through The Gift Shop" which  shone a light on the Street art counterculture scene by documenting the experiences of French born US immigrant Thierry Guetta aka Mr Brainwash and his encounters with Banksy, Shepard Fairey and various other well known Street artists.

In 2015 Banksy opened "Dismaland" described as "the family theme park unsuitable for children" in the British seaside town of Weston super-Mare. "Dismaland" was a large scale group exhibition featuring many highly regarded artists, including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty and Bill Barminski whose works were displayed as attractions exhibited throughout the sinister pastiche of Disneyland, themed as a down at heel British theme park. 

In 2018, Banksy created "Love is in the Bin", originally a painting entitled "Girl with Balloon" which was auctioned at Sotheby's. During the bidding process at a sale price of one million four hundred thousand pounds a shredder was activated from within the frame and the work was partially damaged, thereby creating an entirely new piece. The now damaged artwork is estimated to be valued at £2 million.

Speculation around Banksy's identity includes three common theories: Robert Del Naja, the lead singer of the trip hop band Massive Attack, and former graffiti artist; Jamie Hewlett, the comic book artist and designer known for Tank Girl and the virtual band Gorillaz, or Robin Gunningham, a man born in Bristol in 1973. 

His true identity remains unconfirmed.