Arguably the most controversial street artist in the world, vandal and political activist Banksy, has advanced an entire art subculture devoted to his works. His identity remains unknown and anonymous, even after over 20 years of being involved with the graffiti scene. Banksy’s satirical artwork consists of several influential and often controversial images brimming with dark humor, executed with his distinctive stenciling technique. Banksy’s artwork has been displayed and conceived all over the world on streets, walls, bridges, in countries such as Australia, England, the United States, Israel, Jamaica, and even Canada. Recently, he spent an entire month glamorizing New York City with his street art, which captured the attention of thousands every day.
Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene as he played a part in the Bristol Graffiti crew named DryBreadZ. Soon after, he began to partner with Nick Walker, another notable graffiti Bristol street artist.
By the age of 18, he began to develop stencils after nearly being caught by the police. He discovered that stencils were a faster and more efficient tool for street art. His stencils illustrate humorous and striking images that are occasionally combined with slogans or catchphrases in order to convey a particular message. The concepts behind his artworks are frequently political relating to messages of anti-war, anti-capitalism and anti-establishment, with the subjects often being rats, policemen, soldiers, children and the elderly. The most common form of Banksy street art, prints, and paintings that are for sale are the stencils. These are often in the form of multi-layered stencils and/or combined with other media sources, such as spray-paint.
The notion of the “Banksy Effect” has been developed as a result of Banksy’s artistic innovation, and it alludes to the artist’s ability to turn outsider art into the cultural mainstream. Due to the fact that Graffiti still remains illegal, his work persists to raise critical questions in the social sphere about the lines and boundaries between public art and vandalism.