It is no wonder that the man known as Banksy is the biggest street artist of our time. The global reach of his work's content, together with a certain omnipresence and boldness when it come to the choice of place to display his art (Disneyland or the London Zoo) have made his stencils immediately recognizable by the public. However, his real name, birth date, and place of birth remain a complete mystery.
In January 2008, a wall with one of his grafittis was sold for 400 thousand dollars and, a few months later, two of his other works of art were evaluated at 50 thousand pounds a piece, and auctioned off along with photos of Elton John and Faye Danaway. Since last year, pieces of streets with grafittis have been torn out and sold on e-Bay for 20 thousand pounds. Such enthusiasm has to do with the growing attention and importance that urban interventions have been taking on in medium and large urban centers around the world, after coming out of a sphere of sheer risky vandalism. Urban interventions are now part of the so-called contemporary art, through the refinement of objectives, refferences and complexity of the engravings; they are artistic installations out in the open that mix the street art aspect (with no noble paints, academic techniques or softness) with the great art galleries.
Banksy is one of the key artists of this movement, which has taken the streets into museums and art for passers-by. His work has a clear political message, is rebelious and drenched in a sarcasm that is as violent as it is subtle: a soldier being inspected by a little girl, the guerrilla member throwing flowers instead of a bomb, the maid wiping the dirt into the inside of a wall, the two killers in Pulp Fiction carrying bananas instead of guns, or carrying guns disguised as bananas. They are protests that can be heard and felt in the same way by English and Colombian people. Banksy stirrs up mass culture, with everyday products and miseries, wrapping everything up with black ink and references to comtemporary artists such as American photographer Diane Arbus or pop-artist Andy Warhol.
The artist's genius is now displayed at the Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill, a bizarre robot-pet store (originally created by the Disney studios) where some of the main attractions are sausages made out of worms, security cameras, a chimpanzee watching pornography on Discovery Chanel and a McNuggets farm. The store, on 7th Avenue, was completely open to the public, day and night, until Halloween. His new exhibitions are still unknown, but to enjoy Banksy's work you only have to scroll down and follow him in pictures and videos.
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