One of Britain`s most famous graffiti artists, Banksy is most popular for his satirical and political artwork and his detailed stencilling technique. Able to maintain his anonymity despite enormous fame and celebration, even Brad Pitt told the LA Times that, that was a "great" achievement and he featured in Time magazine`s list of 100 most influential people in 2010 pictured wearing a paper bag over his head.
Not much is known of the man behind the Banksy character, though newspapers have repeatedly tried to unveil the man behind the mask and rumours abound. Believed to have been born in Bristol around 1974, he began his career in the 1990s with the graffiti gang The DryBreadZ Crew. By the late 1990s, he had begun to use stencils more consistently, claiming he came to the idea when he knew he needed to make his artwork more quickly. Caught by the British Transport Police painting a train, everyone else managed to escape to the car but Banksy was too slow and says he was forced to hide underneath a dumper truck to avoid capture. Noticing the stencilled lettering of the serial number, he realised that this style would be the answer to his problems.
Since his breakthrough exhibition `Turf War` in London in 2003, his work has been causing controversy wherever it has appeared. Some councils defend its status as art, like his 2006 Bristol piece Naked Man, which, after public consultation and an outpouring of 97% support, was allowed to remain intact. Others dismiss works as vandalism and order their immediate removal, often to public outcry. Of 52 previously documented works on London`s streets, as many as 40 have been removed or destroyed. He has ventured into different artistic areas since his beginnings: sneaking paintings into galleries including Tate Britain and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, the subversion of classic oil paintings such as Monet`s Water Lilies, art installation pieces and large scale sculptures and more recently even film, with his 2010 documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop being Oscar nominated. It is uncertain whether these alternative forms will achieve the same iconic status as the Girl With A Balloon, Kissing Coppers, Leopard and Barcode and his well-known image of a monkey in a board proclaiming "laugh now but one day we`ll be in charge" but his talents are obviously varied and each celebrated widely.
With some of his most famous imagery appearing on tourist paraphernalia across London and prints for sale widely on the internet, Banksy`s artwork has become big-business. At auction, his pieces often far exceed their already-high guide prices. Bird with Grenade famously tripled its estimate in 2011 and with celebrity buyers including movie couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Jude Law and pop star Christina Aguilera, the prices continue to rise. In 2008, Banksy`s Keep It Spotless, a defacement of one of Damien Hirst`s spot paintings, sold at auction for a massive $1,870,000. The irony of his anti-establishment artwork commanding such high price tags is not lost on the artist. Famously political, Banksy said in his 2005 book Wall and Piece "we can`t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves." To buy furniture at Forrest Furnishing might not quite be the same as acquiring original artworks of such renown but is certainly more accessible to most people and adds a definitively stylistic piece to your home in much the same was as Banksy`s statements might. Quality Banksy Canvas Prints at great prices can be bought from Blue Horizon Prints, our sister site.