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Transcript of BANKSY
Vocal (through His work that is)
‘Banksy’ is a pseudonymous which has allowed him to keep his identity a secret. Although he usually is recognised as a graffiti artist he is also: an environmental and political activist, film director, sculpter and a painter. Through satire his work addresses and/or criticises capitalism, war, poverty, fascism and governments in general. His practice is best understood by breaking down his work into the following six aspects:
Conceptual, Material, Process, Workspace and Environment, Nature of Practice and Influencing Factors.
Banksy sparked response and controversy when he painted 9 images on the wall separating
Palestine and Israel in 2005
...this was what he’d hoped for. He strived to make the Israeli people consider breaking down the wall by repeatedly using children, symbols of innocence and forgiveness.
It was rumored that Banksy was threatened with guns during the process however he still managed to complete several works.
Banksy can be described as:
- he has proven to be very adamant on remaining anonymous still using the pseudonymous 'Banksy' after all these years. Due to the anonymity the production of his work is all very secretive.
- Banksy's sole motivation is his strong opinions and beliefs, this is known because he is intentionally not profiting from his art. This passion is noticeable when he travels to great lengths for projects he has strong opinions towards eg. The West Bank Barrier separating Palestine and Israel.
Banksy will attempt things that are certain to be
and get him in trouble if caught. For example his recreation of an picture of a Guantanamo Bay image that was released at Disneyland.
Due to his level of secrecy there must be excessive planning and preparation for works intended to be created in public.
- Banksy keeps up with international affairs, which allows him to react to incidents through his art immediately
“We may not know his real name, but his art is unmistakably the work of a passionate individual.” – Delana (Web Urbanist Journalist)
Although Banksy is usually recognised as a graffiti artist he is also: an environmental and political activist, film director, sculptor and a painter. While many people look down upon street art claiming it is an act of vandalism, Banksy uses this style of art as a method to
from the public and to
Banksy’s belief challenges the typical opinion that graffiti defaces neighbourhoods, he instead argues that our cities and suburbs are ruined by companies which attack us with giant slogans and, ‘make us feel inadequate’ (Banksy) without their product or services. He detests how it is repeatedly drilled into our heads on every available public surface. Banksy says his work is a response to advertising and provides a two- way conversation rather than one .
A writer for the Guardian, Charlie Brooker says, “...his work looks dazzlingly clever to idiots” However Banksy’s work purposely has a simple surface meaning as it can be easily interpreted by his audience because it is, ‘..usually viewed in a speeding car.’ (Banksy)
Original image taken in Vietnam, 1972
Can't beat that feeling, Banksy appropriation 2004
Although, 'The Simpsons' is the most famous example of a satire, here Banksy takes a dig at the fact that 20th century fox have subcontracted studios in South Korea to increase their profit. Alongside this it also draws attention to our reckless treatment to the environment & animals, consumerism and inhumane conditions in sweatshops. This is a great example which encompasses many of his recurring themes.
Along side the conventional
, Banksy uses prepared
that are pieced together to recreate the entire image.
These stencils are
made from cardboard or acetate.
Due to his many mediums, his materials are forever changing.
example of his stencil work
When his career developed he began painting very recognisable famous works from the likes of Monet. He used
and painted in a traditional impressionist way to replicate their works (pastiche.) This idea also corresponds with sculptures, he may recreate them out of identical materials, however add , take away or change aspects.
Monet vs Banksy
Through satire his work addresses and/or criticises:
he says, "We can't do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves." His work draws attention to the great divisions in society, highlighting how the rich are only getting wealthier while the poor are getting poorer.
- Banksy comments on societies excessive buying and over-consumption on unnecessary goods, and the downward spiraling lifestyle we are living because of this.
- His anti-war themed work often focuses on the deprecation of society because of war.
Our dependence on
'Can't beat that feeling,' features one of the most recognisable pictures ever taken. The middle figure is from an image that was taken right after the bombing of a village in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. This image circulated the world and shocked millions who were completely oblivious to the events occurring.
By featuring Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald alongside the Napalm girl, Banksy suggests that society is so interested and distracted by consumerism, we completely disregard foreign affairs. This print, as does many of his other works, encompasses dark humor which can again be seen in the title of the work. By picturing them arm in arm he proposes that we have given them equal importance despite the obvious fault in that notion.
To achieve realistic images that can't be done quickly with a spraycan Banksy would
large images onto
Then with a
glue or wheat paste
would use a
to cover and stick the image into place. Which can be seen below...
He also critiques
such as greed, hypocrisy, ignorance etc
Recurring figures and animals include: rats, monkeys, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly.
Banksy would use
permanent markers and paint
to add more detail.
Banksy often uses
to transfer or create drawings. These images are then made into prints. By using applications/programs he is able to edit and manipulate already known symbols, faces, logos etc.
He works with
ready made familiar objects
such as witches hats & telephone booths. He will recontexualise the object and reinvent them by presenting them in a new way.
Banksy's choice of, 'canvas,' i.e
billboards, public walls, signs, bridges, etc
allows his work to be broadcast to a greater number of people. (
"Nobody will be put off by the price of admission"
He tends to stick with spray cans because they are fast and easy to work with which is crucial with his work
His short clips involving some of his prints allows him to expand on an image. These videos appear to be animations created by ordering many still shots. This also requires the use of an
application (digital media)
Guantanamo bay (above) Banksy (Below)
NaTURE OF PRACTICE
: Banksy prepares stencils, creates artworks for his exhibitions, brainstorms and experiments with ideas in his studios (studios are typically in LA and England.) His studio also acts as a storage space, he keeps boxes of half-completed ideas sketches, magazine extracts and pictures stored away, only returning only when he believes in the idea. His walls are usually covered with his work. A single idea is trialled with different pictures, compositions, colours and is pinned up in its own area of the studio. When comparing footage from Banksy in the studio and Banksy in public, he appears to be more relaxed here which is expected. He is quite a messy, hands-on person, the artworks he is working on are usually on the floor.
Workspace and Environment
Example of printed image plus wheat paste glue (LEft)
Example of text stencil (right)
Messy (when planning) organised (when creating work in the public)
Workspace and environment:
When working in the public Banksy is under pressure to complete the aim as soon as possible for the following two reasons: he hopes to keep his identity a secret and technically speaking, graffiti or street art is still considered vandalism and property damage. Banksy works fast, nowadays he travels with a team which help him set up ladders, stencils, equipment to work more efficiently now that his projects have no limits.
Banksy often comments about how ‘crazy western consumerism’ has deprecated our environment and society. The piece pictured above draws attention to individuals who are denying global warming despite the overwhelming signs i.e higher temperatures-> melting icebergs-> rising sea levels.
He has been known to travel far for his projects, he has travelled anywhere from Palestine to Australia but his most common locations are:
London, Bristol (his hometown) and Los Angeles
e.g signs as the basis of a piece of work, to make a comment on the object i.e to the left the rat is pictured in a stopping sign ironically as they are capable of going "from a sewer to the palace" (Banksy, 'Exit through the gift shop' documentary)
Process Of Practice
How would he get an Idea?
He will find
in anything. A
, something passing through
could all be prompts for a new project.
AN IDEA! ... Now what?
From this point he begins
, deciding whether this piece will take the form of a sculpture, a painting etc.
Planning and sketching
is the next stage, this can be seen in the pictures to the right, making comments around the drawing. This then translates into the intended design.
: A stencil is made by free handing or printing an image on a piece of cardboard or acetate. This is then carved out using a scalpel. When ready, it will be taped to a pre-decided surface where it will be spray painted.
process of practice:
Why the StencilS?
After a close encounter with the cops while tagging a wall, he decided to use stencils. These stencils are usually pieces put together like a puzzle due to his large scale designs. This choice of scale was made to make his work more readable/understandable and ultimately more effective. Quite often he adds a short sentence or title to further prove his point.
carving with a scalpel
Taping together a stencil
As mentioned earlier printed images can also be added with wheat paste glue.
Paintings & Sculptures:
Often Banksy will buy traditionally painted landscapes to which he'll add too. With his sculptures, he will often acquire ready-made objects. In the case of the phone booth project he had the help of his team who assisted with hand tools. Although it was primarily Banksy, they managed to saw and weld it into the desired form. He then inserted the glass on each four sides and finished by adding paint spills and securing an axe in it. It is transported with the help of a truck and crane.
When making short films for eg. The Simpson's, Banksy made a story board, which he redrafted a few times. He was said to have only directed the opening and sent it to the shows animators.
Example of a bought landscape with additional features painted by Banksy
segment from the Final Story board for the simpson's gag
"Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop." YouTube. YouTube, 05 Apr. 2010. Web. 01 May 2014.
"Robbo vs Banksy- Graffiti War." YouTube. YouTube, 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 02 May 2014.
"B Movie (Banksy)." YouTube. YouTube, 01 June 2011. Web. 02 May 2014.
Wikipedia,The Simpsons opening sequence, Wikimedia Foundation, July 05, 2014, Date Accessed: May 01, 2014
"The Closest You'll Get to Seeing Banksy." YouTube. YouTube, 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 08 May 2014.
"Simpsons by Banksy." YouTube. YouTube, 10 Oct. 2010. Web. 07 May 2014.
"History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places- Graffiti artists | Smithsonian." History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2014.
Bio.com. Life of Banksy, A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 01 May 2014.
Banksy. Banksy. London: Century, 2005. Print.
"Banksy Che Guerva - Ladbroke Grove." Banksy Graffiti Che Guerva. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2014.
"Bristol Underground Scene." World News. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2014.
"Artist Analysis- Banksy." - Mimitalabiexam. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2014.
"Art: An Analysis of Banksy." The Find Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2014.
"The Street Art Concept of Banksy." YouTube. YouTube, 15 Jan. 2012. Web. 0 4May 2014.
"Art: An Analysis of Banksy." The Find Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2014.
Banksy has spoken of his involvement in the Bristol Underground scene, having grown up there. The Bristol underground scene flourished in the 1990s and is still currently explored, they were very much into combining art and music. Despite the reggae and punk influences, trip-hop was the signature genre associated with the underground scene. The art aimed to recreate the emotions felt from a song into their work The key feature of this 'movement' was the use of darkness. Banksy's involvement improved and developed his skills while also introducing his stencilling style. As he became more interested he began considering the conceptual part of his work more and more.
BRISTOL UNDERGROUND SCENE:
Banksy claims one of his biggest inspirations was Robert Del Naja, who went by the name "3D." He created a band called 'Massive Attack' who pioneered the Bristol underground scene. His figures tended to be monochromatic which is a feature of Banksy's work today.
Historical Events and People
Although his work his heavily influenced by events and trends occurring in present day his work is also influenced by history and significant figures in history. E.g Che Guevara a revolutionary icon is presented like a franchise, he references him to show how he has lost the essence of his work with every t-shirt sold.
"Policemen wear hats with a peak that comes down low over their eyes for psychological reasons, apparently eyebrows are very expressive and by covering them you appear more authoritative."
He says the upside to this is that they don't see anything beyond 6 ft off the ground making roof top and bridges a good work location.
Choice of workspace
Banksy had strong opinions towards the corrupt behaviour from the government saying, "They were running it emphatically for years." Saying the crushed any sign of dissent ruthlessly, Banksy speaks of this in his book. Very little words were written in his book however a substantial amount was written about this event. This was channeled and referenced when making his work which criticises Fascism.