Author: Imogen Aldridge

Artist Feature: Banksy

Elusive and provocative are probably the best words to describe Banksy’s work. The UK-based street artist has remained anonymous throughout his decades-long career. However, his unique stencilling technique and dark yet humorous subject matters make his art effortlessly recognisable.

Part of the allure of Banksy is the speculation over his true identity. His name has never been made public knowledge, although there are numerous theories. As well as creating subversive street murals that typically have a political or social message, he’s also been involved with several performance art pieces and worked as a film director.

Bristol beginnings

Although not much at all is really known about Banksy, it is widely thought that he first emerged on the graffiti art scene in Bristol. In fact, you’ll spot 11 Banksy artworks scattered around the city, including the comical Well Hung Lover on Frogmore Street which depicts a naked man hanging out of a window while his lover and her partner look on.

Banksy was likely part of the Bristol underground scene during the late 1980s. The movement had strong links to music, with many of its artists – including Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack – creating various album artworks for bands. Banksy is also rumoured to have collaborated with several graffiti artists in the city.

Wondering where he got the idea of stencilling his graffiti instead of drawing it freehand? Supposedly, he nearly got caught ‘vandalising’ a public building by the police during his youth, so decided to come up with a faster way of creating street art.

Towards the end of the 2000s, it’s believed Banksy moved to London as more and more of his works began to spring up around the UK capital. In more recent years, his street art has been spotted on buildings all across the world, with many pieces popping up in response to certain world events.

Graffiti art 

Banksy’s iconic stencilled graffiti is celebrated across the globe for its clever wit and often thought-provoking subject matters. His past works have addressed issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and global poverty.  

Some of his most famous pieces have appeared overnight in both busy city locations and some very unlikely destinations. Most recently, his work has been seen on a tiny house in a model village in Norfolk, next to beaches in East Anglia and even on the side of Reading Prison.

When it comes to Banksy’s best-known works, it would be impossible not to mention Balloon Girl. The image of a young girl reaching out towards a heart-shaped balloon is widely thought to be either a message of hope or symbolic of her losing her innocence. It forms part of a series of stencilled murals that Banksy has repeated in various locations over the years.

In 2018, a framed copy of Balloon Girl sold for over £1 million at auction. Unbeknown to the buyer, the frame had been fitted with a shredding device which was activated as soon as the hammer came down. The artwork was magnificently destroyed in front of an audience, becoming a piece of experimental performance art.

It’s not always obvious if a piece is a genuine Banksy or an imposter imitating his style. Because of this, Banksy always claims the work for his own via his social media pages or Pest Control – the official authenticating body for his art.

Performance Art

It’s not just buildings that have been given the Banksy stamp. The artist is also well-known for creating immersive art experiences which sometimes poke fun at certain elements of pop culture. Other times, they have been in response to a specific event – either global, national or personal.

In 2015, Banksy opened a theme park-style exhibit in Weston-Super-Mare titled Dismaland. The temporary show put a sinister twist on the popular Disneyland theme parks with its range of eerie sculptures and kooky memorabilia created by both Banksy and 58 other artists. It opened for just five weeks before the structures were donated – at Banksy’s request – to the refugee camps in Calais.

Elsewhere, Banksy famously opened up a shop in Croydon called GrossDomesticProduct. It was in response to a trademark dispute he had with a greeting card company. Within it, he sold a collection of alternative ‘homeware’ items, from a baby mobile made up of CCTV cameras to purposefully impractical handbags crafted from hollowed-out bricks.

Banksy Prints at Art Republic

Many of Banksy’s most famous street murals have been adapted into posters and prints, allowing the public to have a little piece of his genius in their own home. At Art Republic, we stock a wide range of innovative options from this truly dynamic and exciting UK artist. Discover our Banksy prints and our full range of street artwork today.

AFFORDABLE ART

CJP £75

Rewilderness - A3

29.7 x 42cm

£75

29.7 x 42cm

£85

45 x 45cm

£125

42 x 60 cm

Nothing Matters - Remix, 2020 Art Print by Dan Hillier
Exclusive

£98

42 x 42cm

Cats Pyramids

24.7 x 39cm

£35

24.7 x 39cm

Daffy (Red Stripe)

70 x 50cm

£100

70 x 50cm

Reginald Botanical

29.7 x 42cm

£60

29.7 x 42cm

£60

29.7 x 42cm

£100

33 X 48 cm

HOPE THAT KILLS YOU

21 x 29.7cm

£75

21 x 29.7cm

Cherry Drop

35 x 35cm

£65

35 x 35cm

Acne Pink

30 x 42cm

£125

30 x 42cm

Lemon Blossom 3

40 x 40cm

£55

40 x 40cm

£85

50.7 x 45cm

Ellipsis - Remix, 2020 Art Print by Dan Hillier
Exclusive

£98

42 x 42 cm

£100

50 x 50cm

Anyone for Tennis?

29.7 x 42 cm

£115

29.7 x 42 cm

BOUNCE! 2020

42 x 42cm

£125

42 x 42cm

The Sun Rises in the East Art Print by Hooksmith Press
Exclusive

£100

32 x 45cm

Bananas

29.7 x 42cm

£60

29.7 x 42cm

Patrick Art Print by Lee Ellis
Exclusive

Patrick

40 x 40cm

£75

40 x 40cm

Vintage Girl

70 x 100cm

£135

70 x 100cm

MK-Ultra II

19 x 19cm

£65

19 x 19cm

£100

29.7 x 42cm

Gorilla - Neon Pink

42 x 59.4cm

£125

42 x 59.4cm

I Love London

22 x 17 cm

£60

22 x 17 cm

Andy Warhol £22

£22

70 x 100 cm

chatbot-image