Banksy, the Bristol-born graffiti artist, has a show opening December 2nd at the Vanina Holasek Gallery in Chelsea. If you've been to Angelina Jolie's rumpus room recently you might have seen his work hanging on her wall (she bought one of his paintings at his LA show) or you might have bought one of his books at Urban Outfitters. Either way, you must have been struck by all the issues he raises in his work like...um...um....who the fuck pays £200,000 for spraypaint-and-slogan sophomoric crap? (To be fair, it did feature a white family having a picnic and African orphans, two things the Jolie-Pitt household loves.) But Banksy's art isn't just issue-based, it's also a god investment, as per a press release for the show: "His art has escalated in value faster than pretty much any substance known to man." Also, "Banksy images are even being used to sell 900k condos in Williamsburg." Suck on that, Andy Warhol!
Laughing all the way to the Banksy. Think you haven't heard of Banksy? Think you don't know who he is? Let us remind you; whilst others spray their names, Banksy paints pictures, pictures that have made Banksy a household name. He is the most controversial and downright interesting graffiti artist at large in the UK today and the chances are that you have already heard of, or seen some of his work, smiled and moved on. Variously described as a "guerrilla artist", an "art terrorist" or - by those of a more prosaic turn of phrase - as a "prankster" Banksy is someone for whom celebrity is anathema. So much so that he has never let the world know his real name - and he has never even posed for a photograph.
And yet everybody is talking about him...he is unknown but his work is unmistakable.
He's the maniac who got on the news for managing to smuggle one of his pieces of art into Tate Britain and embarrassed everyone because nobody seemed to notice...He's the wit behind the stencilled "Mind the Crap" writing that appeared overnight on the steps to Tate Modern. He is the prankster who smuggled 500 alternative copies of the Paris Hilton CD into record stores. He is the subversive who placed a life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee in Disneyland. He's the jester who gave LA a painted elephant. He is the trickster whose hoax cave painting of a man pushing a supermarket trolley sat in the British Museum unnoticed for three days. He is the infiltrator who disguised as a pensioner hung his perfectly framed pieces in the Metropolitan, MOMA, Brooklyn Museum and his "dead beetle with glued on sidewinder missiles and satellite dish" had pride of place in the Museum of Natural History NYC. Get the picture, get this. Banksy images are even being used to sell 900k condos in Williamsburg.
Is Banksy the new Warhol? Following record auction sales of both Warhol and Banksy, critics have examined the similarities in both aesthetic and content between the two artists, their interest in celebrity culture, and their examination of social values. Like Warhol, Banksy has become a darling of the stars, with his works gracing the homes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jude Law, Damien Hirst, Kate Moss, Robbie Williams. Banksy is undoubtedly a major player in terms of advancing the envelope of what art is with the result that over the past several years, his art has escalated in value faster than pretty much any substance known to man.
He is a visionary, the leader of a new artistic movement and the anonymous poster boy for free speech. Come and see what all the fuss is about.