Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Banksy: Don’t Forget To Eat Your Lunch And Make Some Trouble

“We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime, we should all go shopping to console ourselves.” — Banksy

Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humor with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Banksy says that he was inspired by 3D, a graffiti artist who later became a founding member of the English musical group Massive Attack.

Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. Banksy does not sell photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, but art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder. Banksy created a documentary film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, billed as “the world’s first street art disaster movie”, which made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film.

Banksy’s real name is widely believed to be Robin Gunningham, born in 1973 in Yate, twelve miles outside Bristol, England. However, other names have been put forward as well, including that of the British cartoonist Jamie Hewlett.

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For more about the work of Banksy, see “The Story behind Banksy” published by Smithsonian Magazine.

This post was curated by Michael Simms.

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