How to Be The Next Banksy (or just a clever street artist).

In case you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years let me begin by explaining who banksy is. Bansky, is the pseudonym of one of the most popular  street artists in the world. banksy has put his work up in various major locations in the around the world. this Includes places like on the isreal/palestine wall, Goverment buildings, inside virgin records stores, and has even managed to slip his work into the lourve and many other major muesems (by gluing his paintings to the walls when nobody was looking.) He has gallery shows in most of western europe and in the USA and is undoubtably the most well known street artist in the world (with shepard fairey being a close second). He is a hero to alot of the young artists in the public and street art communities, and is admired for his seeming lack of desire to become a celebrity. He has never given a interveiw and has never been caught in the act of "decorating" the streets. 

Now, banksy is especially famous for three things.

  1. The ability to get his work in the absolute strangest places (palestine wall, disneyland, the lourve, the couch gag on the simpsons etc.)
  2. His clear cut and talented use of multi-layered stencils.
  3. His scewering sense of humor an how he shows it in his art.

The last one in there is especially important, and is the main thing i want to focus on. Firstly take a look at the video below. Its a reporter talking about banksy "decorating" the bland landscape of los angelos in his own version of an oscar campaign. Oh yeah, he was nominated for an oscar, forgot to mention that.

i like the charlie brown one personally.

Firstly, to become the next banksy (or just clever) you first have to understand that at his core banksy is just a political cartoonist. He uses visual metaphors and euphimisms to adress serious topics in a humorous and relatable way. A few examples of this that are not banksys but banksy-esque.

  • Mortgage too high? draw a picture of a banker reposessing a puppys doghouse.
  • your heros selling out? put john lennon or another exploited dead man in a nascar suit covered in advertisments.
  • Are your favorite brands using sweatshop labor? dress up a staving vietnemise child in nike kicks!

The whole idea is to re-use popular imagery (pop-culture icons) in ways that convey a political or social message. Of course somtimes its just nice to put up art for arts sake, without a political message, but thats another article entirely. 

So in conclusion, to be the next banksy just read the political cartoons, stay updated on the news and don't be afraid to stand up and say what you need to say! 

4 Comments

Very astute. Do you happen to view Thierry Guetta as an interesting voice, or not...in light of your three attributes for Banksy.

Well, thierry is an interesting case. Some like to point to his art and say that he just copies what is around him, while others just enjoy the pop art-street art mix that he has been involved with creating. I personally think his art is well done, but, its not as organic as banksys or any other traditional urban artist. thierry is a part of a growing trend that has only seen stencils and stickers in a gallery, and thinks "hey i can do this." while banksy and other older street artist grew from a history of trial and error on the streets, and learning from seeing others do their "decorating" on the streets. Basically, thierry is not a street artist, but is still a fairly cool artist for what he does. But personally i think he's not even comparable to banksy.

Thanks. Thierry seems like a Paris Hilton of graffiti art. Made popular by way of media exposure, not because the art provoked a response or following..

I wholeheartedly agree, but i must say that, while im not fanatical about his art, he seems like such a fun guy. :-P

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