Banksy is a Bristol based graffiti artist who has been working since the 1990’s. Because his work is illegal and because he is know to borrow from other artists and work over their work, he works anonymously. The movie “Exit through the gift shop” in 2010, was his first experiment in film. It brought a tremendous amount of publicity to him. Subsequently many of his pieces have been sold for thousands of dollars.
Here are three pieces attributed to Banksy. Banksy doesn’t show his work in a traditional gallery or museum. Many of his works appear overnight and are often gone in a matter of days. Because of the transitory nature of his works most are not formally named. They usually go by descriptive names given by the public.
Here are some examples of artist who started out as graffiti artists before being accepted into the mainstream art world. Jean-Michel Basquiat was a famous artist in the 1980’s before he died. He was homeless for a while as a teen before participating in gallery shows in NYC. Barry McGee is a contemporary artist in San Francisco who went to art school but also had many experiences with the homeless population in SF. Does being accepted by galleries and museums mean that you are an artist?
Often the environment an artist works in, determines the tools and techniques that are used. Graffiti artists often work in the night, in hard to reach places. They have to be able to work quickly and efficiently. Banksy uses stencils in his work to create overlapping blocks of colors that create the forms. Stenciling has a long tradition in printmaking.
England has a long tradition of satire in both literature and visual arts. Jonathan Swift’s essay A Modest Proposal was meet with shock and outrage when it was first published. The artist William Hogarth was known for his biting portraits of middle class life in British society.
Here is an example of satire in Banksy’s work. He takes an iconic image from our history and tranforms it into a pop culture commentary on our current culture. What do you think he is trying to say with this piece? Is it offensive? Do you think it is ok to use images from our past like this?
Answer 2 or three of these questions.
This is a project that can be done in school on the computer or using painting, drawing or printmaking techniques.
Art or Vandalism? Street art by Banksy“A challenge to graffiti art is that it is forced on the public because peoplehave no say in its production . . . Billboards, campaign ads, and flyers arealso forced on the public.” George Stowers 2008
W B H AAn Anonymous artist O N KActive since 1990 I SStarted working out of Bristol, UK S Y
Art works? By Banksy“We can’t do anything to change the world untilcapitalism crumbles. In the meantime we shouldall go shopping to console ourselves.” Banksy
Tools and TechniquesTools used spray paint, stencils, airbrushWorks have to be done quicklyCopies or steals from known artists and other street artists
Satire“I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance. . .that a young healthy child nursed, is at a year the most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food. . . “Jonathan Swift ‘A Modest Proposal’ 1729“Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world, that I can’t even finish my second apple pie”Banksy 2007
Using Satire in art works Using humor or irony as a constructive social criticism.Napalm Girl photo Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonaldNick Ut 1972 paint on Concrete Banksy
Questions to discuss• Does the fact that something is illegal or temporary mean that it can’t be seen as art?• How would you feel if someone destroyed your artwork?• How is color and line used in graffiti art?• How or why do graffiti artists use satire or humor in their work?• How are the two quotes in the presentation similar and different?
ProjectMake a poster that uses an iconicimage, a historical event and/or acurrent event to create a satiricaladvertisement. The People’s RestaurantUse computers, photos,paint and and foundimages.
CreditsSwift, Jonathan, A Modest Proposal, 1729Ut, Nick, Napalm Girl, 1972Stowers, George, “Graffiti Art: An Essay”, 2008, www.graffiti.org/faq/stowers.htmlThebeggerblade.comBlog.vandalog.comSincity212.tumbler.comWeburbanist.comLeninimports.comVoila-madam.comSubaquatica.comTimkerr.netWhatonyourwall.comIdeasinart.comNyoneill2.travlerspoint.com