Banksy is one of the most famous street artists of the world. Not much is known about the British artist, who keeps his identity unrevealed, so there is a lot of speculation regarding who he is. Some people believe that Banksy is not just one person but a group of people – but no one knows for sure. It has come to be understood that he is likely from Bristol, where he worked with underground artists with whom he still collaborates to this day.
His stencil works carry a strong meaning and quite often have a political and social message. They are intriguing and thought-provoking. He frequently satirizes iconic works, much like other celebrated painters such as Monet, this includes adding humorous elements to them. He started as a street artist with graffiti around 1990 with a crew, before moving on to stencil, probably because it has a faster process. 10 years later his works started to appear in the neighbourhood of Hackney, east London, which made people believe he was living in the area. Showcasing his art in London gave him notoriety and was an opportunity to develop an international career, gaining exposure in places like Los Angeles, Palestine, Sydney and several others.
Besides stencils, he worked on some major and prominent installations such as the painted portable toilet piece ‘Stonehenge’ at Glastonbury, and the ‘Crumpled Phone Booth’ in Soho, showcasing one of London’s most famous icons broken down by an axe.
Banksy is in essence a business man. He has published six books; directed a movie; sold some of his pieces for huge amounts of money, and he has even created a temporary theme park called Dismaland in 2015, in Weston-Super-Mare, England.
If you have not been lucky enough to bump into one of his works in the streets of London you can see some of his stencils in The Hang-Up Gallery, which now has a permanent exhibition featuring Banksy – and you can even buy them if you want. Two of his most iconic pieces are there: ‘The Flower Thrower’ and the ‘Girl and Balloon’, which have already been sold. The gallery is also showcasing artist Lauren Baker’s exquisite neon works and prints until Sunday 8th January 2017, and Johnathan Reiner’s amazing collages until Sunday 29th January 2017. If you are interested in art and you’re thinking about buying a piece to decorate your house, The Hang-Up Gallery is a must.
The Hang-Up Gallery
81 Stoke Newington Road
Tuesday – Sunday 12pm-6pm
Words: Manuela Rio Tinto
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