Monday, June 8, 2009


In a previous post entitled March Serendipity: But Is It Art? I highlighted an improbable art show that opened in the bowels of the New York City Subway. June's serendipitous art moment has to do with my interest in an infamous British street artist (read: tagger or graffiti-ist) named, simply, "Banksy."

Banksy's graffiti first appeared around 1993 on trains and walls around Bristol, England. During the next decade, his work cropped up all over the United Kingdom, as well as in places as diverse as Vienna, San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, Paris, and even Israel.

No one seems to be sure exactly who Banksy is, but his work is very distinctive. He combines some freehand painting with stenciling and uses jarring satire of present culture or politics as subject matter. In typical tagger fashion, his works appear suddenly, unwitnessed until completed. Banksy himself is reported to have said, "I am unable to comment on who may or may not by banksy, but anyone described as 'being good at drawing' doesn't sound like banksy to me."

Here, for your viewing enjoyment, is some of Banksy's work. Let me know if you think it is art or not.

More recently, Banksy has satirized some famous paintings, but that's the subject for another post.

For more information on Banksky, see his website.


  1. I would rather look at this art then any other "graffiti". for some reason I really like the maid sweeping the dirt under the curtain.

  2. I like him, but it seems to me to be more in the realm of cartoon than art. Cartoons can inspire similar praise and controversy.

    Are one-liners art? I don't know...


  3. I like the stuff, but have a hard time getting beyond the criminal element of graffiti. I think of the cost of having to repair it - I put myself in the owner's shoes. Much of graffiti I think inspires fear. Fear that the gangs have arrive and that we're not safe. That we need to put bars on our windows.

  4. Snakebit makes a good point.

  5. However, I would LOVE to happen upon this stuff on the street rather than the crud we see most of the time.

  6. I'm liking this quite a bit - and I do view it as art. Very multi-faceted if you look long enough to think about all the topics he must be trying to convey in his work. I love the rat sawing the circle. I really hate the graffiti that I have grown up with in Southern CA - this art would be much easier to take and lend to some great conversation. Thanks for a great post! Eileen