He’s called Banksy on his social media accounts, but no one knows who he really is. What’s known, though, is he’s a white male in his late 20s. Why he chose to remain anonymous is because graffiti is illegal. Remaining anonymous in this age is certainly a rare feat since everyone possessing any talent hanker for fame.
Banksy’s wears different hats; he’s a street artist, a political activist, a film director, a musician, and even a vandal. His street art is a combination of satire, dark humor, subversive epigrams, and thought-provoking graffiti. He executes all these in his own inimitable technique of stenciling. His work is more a political commentary that he conveys to the world via streets, walls, and bridges of cities all around the globe.
Banksy’s first foray into art was as a freehand graffiti at the age of 14. He was then part of the larger Bristol underground scene. His work was of such exceptional quality that a Bristol photographer, Steve Lazarides, whom he met at that time, started selling his works and later became his agent.
By and by, this England-based street artist developed his technique of stenciling, mainly to save on time. How he got introduced to stenciling is interesting. He noticed the stenciled serial number in a rubbish lorry, where he had taken refuge to escape from the police! The originality of this form of art soon catapulted him to fame and he became a known figure in both Bristol and London.
Being surrounded by an aura of mystery due to his anonymity adds charm to Banksy’s works. But the message his art conveys is unmistakable…it’s anti-establishment, anti-capitalist and anti-war. Although he used to sell photos and reproductions of his works, he doesn’t do so anymore. However, his public ‘installations’ are regularly resold.
Banksy has participated in numerous street art exhibitions and even has a documentary film to his name. This documentary film, ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ went on to get nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. He received ‘Person of the Year’ award at the 2014 Webby Awards.
For such an established street artist, notching up a fan following of over 5.7 million on Instagram alone is nothing surprising.