Who is ‘Banksy’?
As a fan of his art and his attitude, I’ve no desire to add to the commentators who like to ‘out’ Banksy and intrude on his privacy. Moreover, the mystery of who he is becomes part of the excitement of his art. Where will this anonymous radical wielder of spray paint strike next? The fact that Banksy masks his identity and uses humor to subvert authority allows us to conjure up figures like the character ‘V’, in Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta. There is no need to rein in our imagination by focusing on his real name.
It is relevant to Banksy’s art
that we understand his background. As a young man, he grew up in Bristol in the UK in the 1980s. Bristol is a city of massive contradictions; once a major imperial port and center of the slave trade, it now combines buildings embodying its ostentatious past with communities experiencing severe poverty. While not from a particularly deprived background himself, Banksy lived on the borders of this contradiction, entering the rougher areas of the town to practice his art and become friends with those whose values were steeped in alienation from, and contempt for, the political and cultural elite in the UK. keep reading