“Banksy” is the pseudonym used by one of the most famous street artists in the world. His real identity is not known, but a few details of his “civilian” life are known. He was born in Bristol in 1974. His father was a photocopier technician, and Banksy himself originally trained as a butcher before getting involved with street art.
Banksy has produced a wide range of art pieces including a film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and even an opening for an episode of The Simpsons. However, he remains best known for his street art. He has produced some of the best-known and most loved pieces of street art in London. Banksy makes frequent use of stencils, but has also produced freehand artwork. His work in key areas of the capital, such as his fascinating Shoreditch street art, is an essential stop on many of the most popular art and cultural London tours, particularly specialist street art London tours.
Banksy’s art is not usually commercially available. He normally does not sell either reproductions or photographs of his street art, though he has self-published some books containing photos. Certain pieces of graffiti produced by Banksy have been removed from their original public setting and sold by art auctioneers for large amounts of money. However, this has evoked controversy about the process of removing the art from its original setting and, in some cases, whether this was done legally.
Bansky’s art has sprung up in a number of locations around the world, from his native Bristol to Brooklyn, USA and the Israeli West Bank. However, many of his greatest artworks have been centred around London. As he is one of the most famous and talented street artists in existence, his work is a vital component of many specialist street art London tours as well as some more general tours of the capital. A number of particularly interesting pieces can often be seen as part of the thriving Shoreditch street art scene.
Banksy has taken part in a number of notable exhibitions, including Art Below alongside other street artists. He has also held a number of exhibitions in the USA in places such as New York City and Los Angeles. Much of his exhibited work is different in execution, though not in style, from his regular street art. This includes painting animals (with approval from the RSPCA for conditions surrounding the activity) or producing oil paintings which subvert famous works.
Banksy is particularly known for employing dark humour and using his art to comment on current events. Both of these aspects will become clear to those who view his artworks on a street art London tour. Social issues that his art has dealt with include public surveillance, the use of child labour to manufacture cheap goods and prison conditions.