‘Art’ is a broad word. Some will consider a Picaso just another painting, while others would see a fully restored, lime-green GTO as a work of art – a masterpiece! Some even consider graffiti art, which is something I never really understood, until a professor of mine explained that art can be beautiful, or it can be ugly. What matters is that it makes you feel something when you see it. That always stuck with me.
Now, take Banksy. His art is what I’d consider graffiti. He makes his art in public spaces for everyone to see, weather anyone asks for it, or not. It’s not always nice to look at and it can be offensive. But, there is no question, it’s a far, faaarrr cry from kids running around at night with spray paint, tagging buildings. Banksy’s work is on a level of its own. It certainly gets a reaction from you, and causes you to ‘feel’ something.
Wikipedia discribes Banksy, thusly:
Banksy is an anonymous British graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour withgraffiti done in a distinctive stencilling technique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.
If you explore Bansky’s work on either his portfolio site or Artsy, you’ll see there’s some really meaningful and impactful pieces – some hilarious, some disturbing and always clever, making him a true phenomenon. So of course, now Banksy isn’t so anonymous anymore. He’s been unmasked and his inspired style of rebel, street-art now sells for mad gobs of money and his work hangs in the collections of notable Hollywood celebs. He’s even getting referenced on t-shirts, like the above nifty mtb graphic. I’d wear that shirt.
Is Bansky’s work graffiti? Yeah. But is it also good art?
P.S. If you’re interested there is a documentary on Banksy called, ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop‘.