A Tale Dark and Stunning: Numerous Art Pieces of Mysterious ‘Banksy’ and Their Compelling Message

A Tale Dark and Stunning: Numerous Art Pieces of Mysterious ‘Banksy’ and Their Compelling Message

Jack Huot, Copy Editor

An artist from the UK remains anonymous, leaving his identity up to the public to decipher, all whilst creating graffiti art on alleyway walls to promote relevant messages about our dystopian society.

‘Banksy’, before he was an inspiration for several around the globe, was just another defiant teen who got into shenanigans. But also expelled from school, and… eventually sentenced to prison for a petty crime. 

After being released, the then young adult joined a street artists gang named DryBreadZ in the ’90s whose main objective was to present their own perspective on life onto the walls of Bristol, United Kingdom. 

By 1993, Banksy decided it would be best to discover his own meaning of life all through stencil art. For the next couple of years, Banksy stayed local to Bristol, painting on sides of subway trains and street corners. Banksy’s first work that became a massive success was a mural called “The Mild Mild West” that portrays a teddy bear throwing a molotov cocktail at British riot officers. The art has been widely acclaimed for representing the earlier historical significance of the street it’s on (Stokes Croft). 

Not before long, Banksy was being called out left and right for his pieces. Quite literally from the left and right positions of the country when he was viewed as an artist that used political and controversial issues for ideas towards his stencil work. 

A survey conducted by MyArtBroker.com found that 51% of poll takers thought that his work was thoughtful, 24% of poll takers said it made them happy, and 22% said it was rebellious. By the end of the survey, 66% of the people polled said that Bansky inspired them in some way or another.

It’s completely reasonable to say that Bansky has made an impact on the culture of art and changed the bad reputation of graffiti art. Some people feel as though Banksy has created a space normalizing the usage of vandalism. But art being subjective, is easily brought into the audience’s own interpretation. Therefore Banksy’s work can be depicted as inspirational and deep or disruptive and unnecessary. 

The work above, titled ‘Game Changer’ is a drawing, dedicated to front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sold for over 20 million U.S dollars, the painting contains a child playing with a sock monkey nurse with a cape while the bin of actual comic book superheroes is left to the side. This could reflect how the dedication and grit of nurses influence children’s role models for the future; The child puts aside his original superheroes and acknowledges a new form of them.

One of, if not Banksy’s most famous pieces of work, the 2002 ‘Balloon Girl’ stole the red hearts of admirers. “The gesture and the red balloon, an archetypal symbol of childhood and freedom, present a powerful message that can be read in a number of ways,” claims MyArtBroker, a website used for selling prints and replicas of famous paintings like Banksys. The painting gained recognition and was the highlight of his work for more than a decade before it was brought to auction.

Banksy, obviously being a rebellious and controversial artist, couldn’t let the painting sell for millions without making a final statement with it. At the time the painting was sold, Banksy had a trick up his sleeve… or in the piece itself. Banksy had been using the last few years up until the auction to make a built-in shredder within the framing of the painting. Once it was sold for a cool $1.4 million dollars, the shredder went off, splitting the heart shape balloon into fragments of the size, along with splitting the girl in half up until the middle of her body; Banksy claimed later that the shredder didn’t follow through all the way and ended up leaving a fraction of the painting still intact.

This astonishing unveiling of events and the message behind it is still up in the air. Some news outlets and analyzers claim that Banksy was trying to shed light on the capitalist takeover in the art industry and how artwork is not measured by creativity, but by the price tag. The shredding only made the painting go for more money, something that Banksy wasn’t expecting. The new painting, “Love is in the Bin” was resold for over $25.4 million. So why did the painting go up in price if it was destroyed? Some answers are left subjectively up to the audience to consider.

But Banksy has and will make it clear that he does this for his own self-interest without taking outside opinions into consideration.

“People either love me or they hate me, or they don’t really care.” – Banksy