Thursday, 26 April 2007

Back in the day when I was deluded enough to buy CDs from high street stores, the first time I came across the subversive guerrilla artist Banksy was when I got hold of Blur's Think Tank (2003). Over the years this anonymous urban artist have raised my eyebrow (yes, I can do that unibrow raise) and a smile with his antics....such as the Disney Guantanamo sculpture stunt (*fist in air*)

or the time he inserted his own CD remixes into America's "It Girl" Paris Hilton's album with titles such as "Why am I Famous?", "What Have I Done?" and "What Am I For?" (*yessssssssssss*)

....or the time he satirised the illegal Israeli West Bank wall from the Palestinian side with mocking idyllic scenes of life on the other side (*happy dance*)

and many more.

Maybe his anti-war stance chimes with me. But the simple truth is he makes me laugh. And in a good way.

I noticed him, or more accurately, his art work, yet again in the news in the past week. First, about the deliberate (or accidental?) paint over of one of his iconic pieces (or graffiti) by workers of Transport for London. To the howling cries of critics and supporters of Banksy, the TfL responded tartly, "We recognise that there are those who view Banksy's work as legitiamte art, but sadly our graffiti removal teams are staffed by professional cleaners, not professional art critics." Ouch.

Maybe the TfL should reconsider. Just a few days later, "Space Girl and Bird" sold for the ridiculous price of £288,000. Imagine how many TfL workers' saleries you can pay with that, eh?

It's clear he has hit a resonant note with a body of souls who appreciate his art work enough to feel passionate about it. In that sense I view he has succeeded as an artist. It's my personal theory that what makes a piece (or pieces) of art "great" (be it in whatever medium) is that it represents a harmonious confluence and collage of its constituents that is able to convey an intuitive unspoken truth appropriate for an audience in a particular place and time. Thus it's only made "great" when enough recipients are "touched" by it and deem it as such, regardless of what the artist may have wanted to convey even. What is great art to someone is literally a pile of elephant shite to another.

Check out more of Bristolian Banksy's art work at his website here.

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