Street art has not been known historically to be the pinnacle form of art. However, in recent years street art has taken on a life of its own and seemed to carve its own home in the art world. Street artist Banksy appears to be the ultimate example of how the perception of street art has changed.
|Dismaland -- a "bemusement" park, 2015|
Not much is known about Banksy. He is a London-based artist who has never revealed his identity to the general public. He is known for creating street art that employs dark humor and often has a political or social commentary aspect to it. He rose to prominence in the 1990s and is known for primarily utilizing stencils where he often combines images with a catchy slogan. He has also taken famous images and adapted them to convey a message.
In 2010, Banksy came out with a documentary entitled Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was nominated for an Academy Award. The documentary has caused quite a stir and has led many to believe that it was a hoax created by Banksy and fellow street artist Shepard Fairey. The film focuses on Thierry Guetta, who adopted the name Mr. Brainwash and became entrenched in street art. The film seems to be a commentary on the commercialization of street art.
Banksy has become something of a phenomenon. Many art auctioneers have been known to sell his street art on location and leave the removal of the art to the lucky bidder. His work can often be sold at hundreds of thousands of dollars on the regular, and celebrities of all kinds are always vying to acquire his work. He has published four books, and his fourth, entitled Wall and Piece has sold more than 250,000 copies. His main appeal appears to be connected to his unfiltered commentary on society. Gardner states in his writing that creative minds often take action when they find "further change necessary--whether because the creative individual is dissatisfied with an ad hoc solution or because the particular problem can be solved only by a fundamental reorientation" (33). Banksy appears to have helped popularize street art as a form of media that helps to create conversation about key issues.