Banksy A Contemporary Shakespeare

Banksy Artist Review, Banksy A Contemporary Shakespeare

Banksy Artist Review


Poetry and theatre are not on the rise. Today’s highest regarded art is something in-between painting and filmmaking about gummy bears voicing political opinions. Shakespeare finally has a contemporary. His name is Banksy, the British graffiti artist turned painter-filmmaker. His stenciled street works are complimented by pranks with messages “I want out” in zoos, placing subverted artworks in the Met and MoMA, bold moves as the graffti on the Israeli West Bank barrier. But! The past is the past. ‘Revolution is the only solution’ seems to be driving Banksy. But his works might as well mean ‘There is no more lollipops here’. I’ll leave it up to you.

What matter is that he is here NYC. His residency for the month of October has perplexed many but is nothing short of poetic. You can track it here Clairvoyant, frivolous and dry all at once. In a good way. His art is like riding a bike on the dusty summer streets with nothing in your pockets. The city is seemingly stiff and unimpressed. But I think Banksy is the best thing that happened to NYC since the hot dog. Rebellion is constantly on his mind as he is planting seeds in the concrete cracks of capitalism. He speaks of love, he speaks for the unheard or he just speaks!

His October 23 multidimensional piece (both literarily and metaphorically) of Central Park stall with his paintings devaluated is a gesture unprecedented in the art world. Putting a price tag to art is against art itself? ‘Sirens of the lambs’, the heart shaped balloon covered in band-aids, the garden track, ‘at the door of the club’ are all pushing art to new heights. The list is long. An artist on the run, working in a grey area, evading the police. Everyone, at least a little bit, wants to be in his shoes, live a mystery life of creativity and thrills. A life well lived.

The world is spinning but Banksy is not. He is hard at work proving my long-lived suspicion that there is no recipe to life. I don’t know if I am too young or too old to speculate. But! Banksy does not feel like a single person to me. It feels like a group behind a common goal. Banksy is a religion of poetic distractions from the routine world. A religion that makes you think, makes you get out of your comfort zone, makes you unplug from the system at least for a few minutes. NYC appreciates those few minutes. There is no recipe. Keep it frosty Banksy. Nice shoes!


As originally published on November 5, 2013 by Luxurious Prototype – Good-bye Banksy, We Will Miss You – New York City

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  • Lucas Howard

    Great article.

    I see Banksy as a brand much as Obey (Shepherd Fairey) is a brand. They are counter culture figures turned into coffee table consumerables. Banksy’s time has past just as Eminem’s time has past. Once people expect you to push the boundaries by proxy, then it is over.

    Instead of Banksy’s work creating any significant social change, it is often met by the response “oh, yeah, that’s pretty clever”, momentarily before people continue on with their day.

    I enjoy Banksy’s sense of humour and love how he refuses to take himself seriously. My favourite Banksy quote is:

    “I agree that I am completely overrated and hope that one day I get the lack of recognition I deserve.”

    That conciseness, irony/self awareness is what makes Banksy so memorable. I would be more inclined to view him as a modern Oscar Wilde in some respects. He mirrors the ridiculousness of society back at us, and we love it.

  • Thanks Lucas! My admiration for him got boosted a lot after Exit Through the Gift Shop. I agree with your points.

    I like the idea of his lifestyle and the day to day of coming up with clever projects then going out and painting the streets.

  • Lucas Howard

    Exit through the gift shop was a very clever way for him to showcase footage he had collected. I love that nothing is as it seems with Banksy.

    I will spend the rest of the morning looking at the New York work you speak of, it sounds wonderful.

    As a Brit hr has been in the social consciousness as long as I can remember.

    He has had a rocky relationship with the grafitti community over here, accruing love and hate in equal measures.

    Maybe you should have a go at painting the streets yourself. It is very invigorating and liberating. Good luck.

  • Lucas Howard

    I love that New York has designated areas for people to grafitti legally. It is a great form if expression and should not be criminalised.

  • I have ventured at graffiti myself and it is awesome! It is freedom at its best.