UK’s infamous and ‘illegal’ street artist Banksy (a pseudo-name) has expressed via his own style in the spirit of Olympics. He has created two new works which created controversy according to London officials, who are now placing a ban on such works by many such street artists.
Banksy is probably the most popular, yet most mysterious, urban street artist in the world, and he works at incredible extremes. He has become an internationally known as a subversive graffiti artist – yet manages to maintain a secret identity. He is a counter-cultural prankster, but has art in major cosmopolitan galleries around the globe.
Banksy’s work has sold to Hollywood celebrities for over a half-million dollars a piece, but much of his subvertising is freely (and illegally) drawn on public surfaces. He works against the mass media establishment, but has been featured in local, national, international news. He is on some level clearly a geek at heart but at the same time his art is always on the cutting edge.
His latest works in the light of Olympics depict an athlete throwing a missile instead of Javelin! His clear opposition to London’s placement of surface to air missiles even in some apartment buildings to deal with any terrorist threat during Olympics.
The second graffiti shows an athlete pole-vaulting over a barbed fence and supposed to fall on a street side mattress kept besides the fence! This is Banksy’s quiet nod to the London boroughs that have been forgotten amidst the promises of economic benefit brought on by the Olympics.
Banksy is a household name in the UK, perhaps best known for his compelling stencil graffiti, found throughout major cities on walls and billboards. He avoids the abstraction of traditional tags, instead creating (often photo-realistic) urban street art images that respond to a given context and contain some form of social commentary. Of course, these are all highly illegal, which is part of the reason Banksy shields his identity.
His work remains more controversial than the leave-no-trace types of urban street art, such as light graffiti, projection bombing or other unusually legal street art. Though his work is sometimes legal and sometimes not, he remains an anonymous trickster, evading identification by the public and the law much like the anonymous subvertisers and culture jammers of the street art world.
Should London officials destroy London’s expressive street art, especially of this remarkable street artist Banksy?