Down an unassuming street in Bristol, England, a stuffed bear is locked in an act of civil disobedience. Firebomb in hand (paw?), three police brandishing riot shields close on it. This scene, The Mild Mild West, is one of many murals like it, an early example of Banksy’s work. Even today, Banksy points his art at power and the way it’s abused. Banksy’s views haven’t changed much over the years, but his art has grown to the world stage, starting conversations amongst regular people, all rousing to the call of an artist that has never been identified. People simply know him as Banksy, the street artist with the loudest voice.


Banksy Background

In the early days, Banksy was said to be active in the underground art scene of Bristol. By 2000, Banksy’s style of stencils and heavy contrasts had become cemented. Stenciled murals started popping up all over England, soon spreading to the US and other countries. While the largest part of Banksy’s body of work is technically illegal, this period included several notable exhibitions. It also included several stunts, such as producing and spreading spoof cash emblazoned with “Banksy of England” to crowds of people.

In 2005, Banksy painted several pieces on the Israeli West Bank wall, kicking off a surge of interest in street art as a form of expression. People started paying tens of thousands for Banksy’s art, and by extension, the “Banksy Effect” raised wider interest in street art, contributing to its argument as a legitimate art form. In recent years, several films have been credited to Banksy, as well as dozens of murals.

In the time Banksy has been active, no one has been able to identify the artist behind the persona. Some leads have pointed to one person or another, but no definitive conclusions have been reached. The mystery surrounding Banksy’s identity has spawned several theories, including Banksy not being a single person, but a collective that dons the mantle for the sake of anonymity.

Political Message

Interviews with Banksy are few and far between, but quite a lot of meaning can be gleaned from his work and the lengths he goes to create them.

Much of Banksy’s street art stems from abuse of power, corruption, war, poverty, and the darker side of the human soul. In his book, Wall and Piece, Banksy said “I need someone to protect me from all the measures they take in order to protect myself.”

As an artist whose art is seen as a crime in some corners, his message seems to have found a perfect medium.

The condition of the downtrodden is likely the driving force behind the stenciled murals that appear overnight around the world. Many pieces have been critical of and outright lampooned materialistic culture and capitalism. It’s also common for Banksy to show open support for anarchy and nihilism in his work, with several pieces focusing on humanity’s place in the universe.

Why Banksy Matters

Banksy’s work has risen from clandestine expression to the eyes of the general public. Wherever a Banksy is suspected to be found, it won’t be long until millions of eyes are upon it.

The focus of Banksy’s themes have always been provocative and the artist rarely sticks around to claim or promote his work. The perceived notion is the work isn’t meant to be famous or for sale. It’s simply an idea, an opinion Banksy shares with the world.

With Banksy’s rise in popularity, the attention a piece attracts easily spans the globe. These expressions are able to reach a wide audience, introducing them to ideas they may not have encountered before. As long as people are paying attention, Banksy’s subjects are never without a voice.

Banksy Profile

Banksy Artwork Type Street Art, Graffiti
Banksy Artwork Medium Screen prints, sculptures and photos of street art
Banksy Price Range Depends on type of artwork. Photos of street art start at $10.00 and signed screen prints can cost hundreds of thousands.
Banksy Resale Value At this point in time, Banksy is arguably the hottest artist in the world. Supply is low and demand is high. Banksy prices have gone up drastically in recent years.
Banksy Art Messaging The work of Banksy is certainly meant to portray a message. Some messages are clearly political, while others are societal.

Banksy FAQ

Q: What is the Pest Control?
A: Pest Control is a verification service provided by Banksy to help buyers and sellers with questions and verification when it relates to real or fake Banksy artwork.

Q: Where is Banksy From?
A: Bristol, United Kingdom

Q: Who is Banksy?
A: No one knows for certain. There are number of supposed photos of Banksy, but his identity has never been verified. He remains anonymous.

Q: Are there fake Banksy prints?
A: Yes, a lot. It’s imperative to purchase a Banksy piece that has a certificate of authenticity from the Pest Control. Additional verification is a Pictures on Wall stamp around the edition number.

Q: How much do Banksy Prints Appreciate?
A: It depends, but all of Banksy’s original screen prints have increased in value significantly since release. As an example, when Banksy released some of his most famous pieces were sold for hundreds of pounds. Some of these same pieces sell for fifty to two hundred thousand pounds.

Q: What is Banksy’s Most Famous Art Piece?
A: This is subjective, but Girl with a Balloon is the most recognizable.