We have already featured the legendary Banksy in many of our previous articles (See Best Street Artists and Best Female Street Artists ) but it was high-time that we said a little bit more about him. Since bursting into the street art scene 14 years ago he has become one of the most cherished, and talked about artists of our generations. His style is unmistakable, and although he has received both credit and critiques, his murals and works have definitely become an essential part of urban life. Here are a few interesting facts that you might not have known about Banksy.
1. The Elephant in the Room
You probably know the saying “The Elephant in the room”, but at one of Banksy’s most successful exhibitions in Los Angeles, there actually was a real, spray-painted elephant in the room. Of course, the Indian elephant had non-toxic paint on him, and represented the world’s poverty. This was actually Banksy’s first exhibition and it was a wild success, even if some animal rights activists strongly protested against his “abuse”. They believed that the animal might be in pain, but they did nothing in the end, since the exhibition was almost over. Strangely enough Banksy consulted with the office of the city attorney and obtained LA’s animal services department approval before pulling off this stun.
2. Sneaking Work into Art Galleries
Before being accepted into exhibitions and art galleries as a legitimate artists Banksy had the interesting hobby of hanging his works in other ones. Besides spray-painting his work on walls, he also liked to visit different galleries like the Tate Britain one in London, MoMA, the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum or the British Museum in order to glue his own paintings. In 2003 he glued a oil painting of a country house surrounded with police tape. An accompanying note explained that the house has become numb to crime due to press coverage. The painting hung unnoticed for several hours until finally fell. A few years later he hung a fake cave painting with a caveman pushing a shopping trolley. This artwork also had a sign that said “This finely preserved example of primitive art dates from the post-catatonic era”.
3. He sold Prints Worth 30.000$ for 60$
Banksy has always been an odd fellow, but this is probably one of the most outrageous thing he did. In October 2013 he gave many of his paintings to an elderly man that had set up stall in Central Park. Banksy’s fans knew that he was in town, so they thought his works would be selling for outrageous prices at some expensive gallery. Little did they know that he was selling original, authentic works at 60$ a pop. The man only made around 500$ that day, and Banksy stated that he won’t be repeating this stunt in the near future.
4. Banksy’s Identity
It is actually surprising how Banksy managed to conceal his identity, considering the huge success he has had. Even when he gives interviews, he always wears a mask or hood. We don’t even know if he is actually a he, and all he ever said about himself is that he is nothing but an unemployed art school drop-out painter decorator. For all we know, he might be an art collective. Rumors say that Banksy is the alter ego of Damien Hirst, but recent news points the finger to Robin Cunningham, a 39-year-old artists who has been spotted at many of Banksy’s works, right before they were revealed. His team has neither denied or confirmed the statements.
5. The West Bank Barrier
Similar to the Berlin wall, only three times larger, the West Bank Barrier is a monolithic wall which separates Israel from Palestine. It is without a doubt the most dangerous place that you can see in the Middle East, because people who go to close to it are often shot to death. How Banksy managed to perform his artwork on this site is still a great mystery. His large murals can be seen on both sides of the wall. They are not all political, some show green lush windows while others are more playful: two children escaping over the wall with the help of balloons and ladders.