2.25.2010 Banksy reading from the New Yorker


Throughout the entire article Banksy is an anonymous artist. Because of this there is an added mystery behind who is the actual person that creates the street art masterpieces. Many other individuals have taken this mystery as a challenge to discover the real Banksy. To me this is intriguing because it combines art with the unknown. Even the author of this article seemed to be on his/her own quest to find Banksy although no one has accomplished this feat before. I feel that since there is a mystery behind who Banksy is, it propels people into being interested in the work he creates. If this secrecy was not present, the allure of his art might not be as strong and I think that Banksy knows this assumption. His artwork is peculiar which allows him an edge; the edge in his pieces seem to push others comfort levels while providing social commentary such as through the piece with the two policemen kissing. It is clear to see that Banksy enjoys his art and anonymity and likes things that way. I feel that people should stop trying to discover who the real Banksy is and take pleasure in the art he creates. If someone did realize who he is then much of the mystery and intrigue of his work would be gone.

Yeah. There was a quote in there that really exemplified this I think: "Banksy, typically, was flipping off the art world and begging it to notice him at the same time." He clearly wants to be anonymous, but I also think he understands the hype that builds over a mystery like that. I wonder if it was intended or not- getting more fame from being mysterious, or if he truly wanted to shun the spotlight.

I don't think he is trying to be anonymous at all. Why in the world would he go all over the world tagging buildings, trains, etc. and put on shows if he were trying to be anonymous? Why would he have a blog and respond to sellings of artwork and other events in the art world if he were trying to be anonymous? Why would he rebel the way he does and "flip off the art world" in many ways on many occasions? Its because he wants attention. Its all part of a game for him. Im sure its very fun, though. A lot or people who rebel or are going against the grain are certainly going for attention by doing do. Why do you think Britney Spears starting dressing and acting so sexually? She wanted to get rich and famous and she did just that. People are attracted to whats taboo or prohibited, kind of like graffiti.

I guess this is kind of a continuation of the comment I just wrote, but I was just thinking about all the motives there could be for remaining anonymous as an artist. Some people I guess really just can't stand the attention...I feel like I've heard numerous stories of musicians or actors being miserable in the spotlight. It's certainly easier for non-performance artists- writers, graffiti-ists, etc.- to avoid attention, since their faces or names don't have to be attached to what they do. Is it just privacy? Or is it to create interest?

I feel that for Banksy to remain anonymous could be any of the things you mentioned (privacy, added interest), but I also like to think that maybe he did this so he can preserve his creative control for the art he makes. If other people were to know who the real Banksy is, then there would be an authority figure who would try to tell him what to do. Of course this is the reason that I would like Banksy to have for being anonymous, but whatever his reason is for his anonymity, it definitely has worked to his advantage. He has a lot of fame, especially in Britain, and an artistic style that allows him to stand out. We will probably never know Banksy's real motive for the mystery of who he is, but one thing is for sure, his art doesn't need to depend on his own desire to be famous.

I feel like Bansky might be trying to keep his anonymity on purpose so he can remain as a "mystery" to the audience. It is amazing how Bansky is famous and many people know about him when he tries not to be known, which might be a startegy itself. I wonder if he would still be well known and acknoldged by people if he was not anonymous, like most of the artists.

I think that some artists don't want to be recognized simply like you said, they cannot handle the fame. However, I think that some artists also don't want the credit for their art, they just like making others happy by looking at it. I'm sure that in this situation, they look more at the benefits of remaining anonymous and not always getting so much unwanted attention. It probably makes their lives much easier and they can live life how they want to but they are still able to do what they love, which is make art.

(Sorry my comment is late I looked all week for the reading but couldn't find it) I think you bring up a very important and difficult question to answer. In my opinion I think that Banksy is keeping private from the public because he wants the interest and attention from his audience. I think he feels that if he doesn't share information with his audience then they will continue to admire him and his artwork because of the mystery behind his secrecy. Like you said he could also be uncomfortable with the pressure of fame, but if he was trying to keep his life so hidden I don't think that he would be displaying his artwork as much as he does.

If my work was becoming a household name, I would want to do exactly what Banksy did. I have no desire to be famous, and I think have an anonymous aspect about you makes your work that much more intriguing to others. The reward of stumbling upon an awesome piece of Banksy graffiti art must be so special. The fact that not only the artist is hidden, but that the work itself is hard to find, adds to this awesome discovery. The anonymity also really shows that he does not have a big ego. Those that want their name everywhere make sure that people know they did a particular piece. It is ironic, though, that not ever putting his name on anything or attending his openings has made him more known that those that may show themselves in public very often. Banksy not writing his name, although it does make him stand out, does not draw glory to his name. The quote, “Pleasing crowds, not cognoscenti, still remains his stated aim,” really shows that characteristic (56). It also mirrors the idea of graffiti art; under the radar and sometimes against the law. I love the dichotomies used to describe him; like everyone else and like nobody, a genius and a madman (56).

I agree with you that finding a piece of Banksy's work would be a real special moment, since they are hard to find. But, I don't agree with where you say that he doesn't want his name broadcasted everywhere. When you say, "Those that want their name everywhere make sure that people know they did a particular piece. It is ironic, though, that not ever putting his name on anything or attending his openings has made him more known that those that may show themselves in public very often." you are a little incorrect. Banksy started out by displaying his name everywhere. It said in the article that his graffiti started by displaying "his blocky signature" everywhere which one could infer that he was getting his name out. I think the whole idea of graffiti is to not draw glory but to draw rebellion. This may be another reason why Banksy does not leave his name as a traditional artist would.

The first thing that I thought of when I read this article and learning about Banksy, was that it reminded me of art itself. Sometimes art is a complete mystery to people, and that's why people are so interested in it. At least that's why I'm interested in it, and for many other reasons as well. I love the whole mystery idea and trying to figure things out. Well that's kind of what I was doing with this article and Banksy. Banksy is a complete mystery to me and kept surprising me throughout this article. I was surprised when I read that Banksy doesn't attend his own openings. But then again, it makes sense because he wants to remain a mystery to people- keep them intrigued. Also, he probably didn't want all the attention on himself and not have the main focus on his artwork. I'm sure if people saw him they would get very distracted and ask him many questions. After reading this article I can see why people want to find Banksy's artwork. I think his pieces of artwork are so great and funny (like the Winston Churchill with a Mohawk). I think most people never know what to expect from him, always surprising people- keeping himself and his artwork a mystery. I also thought it was interesting how the article said he was one of "'[...] quickest-growing artist anyone has ever seen,"' yet he doesn't put his name on his artwork and it's hard to find. I think one of the funny, surprising parts in this article was about the eBay story with the pizza box. In a way that showed me how much people really like him/his artwork and consider him to be famous. It just reminded me about movie actors/actresses and if they left behind a towel or something, that item would probably be found on eBay a couple hours later going for a high price. The last thing I thought of was how his artwork is probably bringing people together- finding his artwork together, making clubs about him, etc. I thought of that because when we went to the West Bank Social Center, we talked about how the projections on the building across from their's (or where any of the projections were found) attracted people and how everyone could meet/interact with each other. I just thought that was a good example of how art brings people together.

I believe that this was a really thought out exploration of this reading. I really enjoyed the connections made between the west bank social center and Bansky's work. I think that the work of graffiti artists has this interesting way of connecting people. Just the other day I was talking with some people around my dorm about all the graffiti with the name Mike Gould. While not the best graffiti in any way, simple works like this reach people at different levels and can really influence our environment. As I have read in a few responses, I too am very intrigued by Bansky's underground approach to his work. I think after our conversation in class last week he stands as a concrete example of an underground artist who has managed to stay true to his morals despite his popularity.

It is interesting to read about an artist who doesn't want to be known by face of his art works. Normally when reading about an artist they naturally want to be known and want the fame. I like the mysterious factor with Banksy, I would think that would make the art all the more interesting. Who is he? Where is from? How old is? these are all questions that would probably come to mind while observing his art. It's really cool how even after all this time, he still does not want to reveil himself. I think that people respect that in him as an artist.

The mystique of the unknown is undeniable. Perhaps Banksy understood this better than most. I think just as teenagers and adults can lust after the man in the mask or the women cloaked by smoke sitting in the corner, so to has the art world become obsessed with Banksy's art, not just because of his secret identity, but also because it is masterful on its own.

I feel like this article was painting Banksy in a negative light (whether he should be or not, I don’t know). However, I find it really interesting and quite contradictory, what Banksy says, and what Banksy does. They seem quite opposite to me. On one hand he says the art world is a joke, but on the other, not only is he a part of the art world, but he puts on galleries and events that others in the art world do as well. To me, he is calling himself a joke. I like the comment that reads, “Banksy, typically, was flipping off the art world and begging it to notice him at the same time.” I certainly agree with it. He smack talks on the art world, but at the same time wants his art to be recognized. He thinks graffiti is superior also. They say he tries to be anonymous, but that only fuels the attention for him, and he knows that. He drops in on towns and graffiti’s all over and then leaves, like a stealth bomber. If he was trying to be anonymous, he wouldn’t be going all over the world “bombing” cities essentially looking for attention. He is a rebel and it seems like he is just trying to get attention, by doing things that aren’t ordinary and off the beaten path. He’s just as hungry for attention as Paris Hilton. I think he’s lying to himself.

I also agree that certain things said throughout this article were contradictory. I suppose he owuld be calling himself as a joke, but I didn't look at it that way. I just thought it was interesting how he said things about art and, like you said, did them as well. Another example I found was when he was talking about how other art forms would be considered lower/not as good compared to graffiti. Yet he painted on canvas and things like that. Also, when I was reading this article I got the feeling sometimes that he thought he was better than some people/artists (maybe I read it the wrong way). But then I thought that might just be his personality and he likes to joke around/have that sense of humor. When I first thought about Banksy secretly wanting a lot of attention I thougt that was correct. But then I thought about it from another perspective and came to think that he was just trying to get his work out, kind of hide it, and create this mystery about himself and his work. I'm not quite sure if he really knew that all of this would attract so many people, or maybe that was his plan all along. I think many artists are rebels- especially graffiti artist because they're putting their artworks on buildings instead of on a canvas. I also think many artists want attention, in one way or another, and how they do that is up to them. Maybe that's why Banksy chose to be a mystery to people. I don't think he's lying to himself. I think he's being true to his work and staying true to the art world because even art itself is a mystery. I feel like people are constantly trying to figure out the meaning behind someone's artwork. Maybe the idea of that, that art is a mystery, is what made Banksy choose to be a mystery to people.

After reading this article I'm sure how to feel about Banksy. I really like his graffiti and how raw it is, but I find his attitude about how he goes about his art off-putting. Whether he means to come off this way or not, I just feel if he does his work for the common people, why would he not want to meet them and interact with them? Sure, it's cool that he's kind of a maverick with his artwork, since you never know where it's going to show up next, but why doesn't he ever show up? I think it is hard to like art if you don't like the artist, especially if they give off the attitude that they don't care about those who admire them.

I think this kind of goes back to the idea of what I was saying about how people love to be hated. It doesn't really make sense but it happens. Banksy seems to have all this hostility towards his fans but nobody really cares. For example Brad Pitt, or maybe he just didn't get the irony of the gallery invite. People don't really care that he is criticizing them because they really only care about his artwork. It makes sense how some people would find it hard to like the artwork if they didn't like the artist but Banksy's fans are obviously not these people. As for me, I haven't decided yet if I am one of these people.

I do get what you mean about his attitude, especially in the titles of his books. But i think the power of his work comes from the lack of interaction with his fans. He does seem to come off as not caring if people like it or not, but i think in a way that really shows that he's doing the art exactly how he wants, not under the influence of something else. To me, it is a this is what i have to offer, take it or leave it kind of vibe. I don't know, i've always been one to like the borderline rude faces of a certain area, in this case of the graffiti world. I'm confused about him too, but i really like him.

I believe that a huge part running behind Banksy is his anonymity. Banksy is known, or rather unknown, as a graffiti artist all over. The fact that he still remains anonymous brings forth a lot about his character. Firstly, The fact that he is not coming forth and showing his identity shows the ideas we discussed in class about "selling out", and clearly if no one knows his true identity, this is not an option. But I feel also that Banksy remaining unknown for his work is similar to many other graffiti artists. As you drive along the roads and see a piece of graffiti, most of us cannot decipher what it says or even means and therefore just notice it as another piece of artwork and continue on. The general population can't pick out certain pieces on the side of a building and know the exact identity of who sprayed it and what the purpose was. Banksy may be trying to make a statement similar to this saying that he doesn't need the credit just because his work has become so popular. It could have been any other graffiti artist who went from being unknown and becoming what the article said "a household name in England". The idea of his identity remaining hidden is a huge part that he credits to the street art world. Because of the controversy of some of his work, he may also be keeping his identity hidden to show off his message. Banksy may just be trying to show people that they need to see the art and receive the message. He cares less about putting his identity out there than sharing his political statements with the world. It's great though that people who know him, have not fell to the public world about Banksy's real identity. It said that many people say, "He's like everybody, but he's like nobody," and "I'm not obliged to say more than I'm obliged to,". People who know Banksy must know the power that the hold knowing his real identity and if they wanted instant fame, could leak that out. It's really respectable of them to keep this secret silent. It's also a fun aspect to Banksy's artwork that you never know where it's going to turn up next or what it's going to be. If we knew Banksy's identity, his showings would be like any other artists, predictable and not surprising. I'm sure that when one stumbles upon Banksy's work on the streets, the person gets excited for they are apart of the secret now. This is another element to his secrecy.

I think one of the intriguing ideas presented in this article was that people love to be hated on. Banksy has claimed that he obviously doesn't want to be part of the art community through his testimonies and anonymity and at the same time rejects his fans or at least that's the way it looks like. He seems to be criticizing his fans for reveling in his art as portrayed in the edition "I Can't Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit" painting. This is entirely confusing to me. I get that he has this type of attitude and persona that he is trying to emit as a mix of wit and sarcasm but it still doesn't really make sense to me. I found this article a little confusing because so much contradicting information was presented about Banksy, that I feel like I don't really have an accurate picture of him.

It was very interesting to me how Bansky insists to remain as an anonymous artst. In my case, I always try to put my name on all works because I want to show people that I made them. It seems like Bansky is totally against the art world, which makes sense because being known as famous can be a bad thing at many times. The painting "I Can't Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit" really shocked me. However it still seems like Bansky loves being involved in the art world, assuming from the fact that he goes all over the world and shows his graffiti work.

I saw in this article many parallels to one of the first articles regarding DIY culture. In the DIY culture there was a group or artists who chose to not claim their work as there own, or to remain anonymous by using a code-name. I think in many ways Banksy was embodying the same values that these artists embraced. He wanted to be known, and he wanted his work to be seen, but not for himself, for the greater good of the graffiti and stenciling culture.

(Sorry my comment is late I couldn't find the article) Banksy's idea of the art world seems very hypocritical to me. He continually bashes the art world and everything that it represents but then he turns around and does the same thing!? Although, I do think he sense of style is what makes him a unique artists. We all know that fame and glamor really change a person and their identities. I believe that Banksy is trying as hard as possible not to be labeled in this category. He takes pride in his art and isn't interested in forming a close, personal audience. He produces art because it is something he enjoys doing, not because he wants other people to like it. On the other hand, I believe that part of his attitude toward is audience is to leave a sense of mystery about him as an artist. People are always seeking the truth, trying to uncover stories and make connections with other people. With leaving this mystery, people are more compelled to continue to follow him and his work, hoping someday that they will learn something about him and his life.

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