I’ve been drawing since I can remember, and when I got to high school and took visual arts as an elective, I was over the moon at the possibility that I could get good grades doing something I actually like.
After years of being forced to write essays about artists whose best work was a pile of sticks on a gallery floor, I’d just about had enough of looking at “contemporary” and “modern” art. What rubbish some of these people create! I mean, who am I to decide what’s considered art and what isn’t, but it baffles me that someone can just stick a florescent light bulb on a wall and call it a work of art. And that people actually go to SEE and PHOTOGRAPH such nonsense.
Banksy, an anonymous street artist based in the UK. His distinctive stencil art, installations and films focus on social and political commentary, and he’s best known for his dark humour and satirical approach.
I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled across Banksy and his works, but I’m glad I did. Here is a guy who says what he’s thinking and isn’t afraid of his controversial opinions. He wants to make his audience think about important social issues, and doesn’t use his work as a platform for fame and fortune, contrary to the intentions of self-proclaimed artists that fill exhibition opening nights, valuing their own works at hundreds or thousands of dollars. Banksy creates and displays his art on public walls, bridges and sidewalks, as well as on his website, and his motivation, rather than making money, is getting his message across to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
This article by Will Ellsworth-Jones favourably describes the hype around Banksy’s work, particularly surrounding his month-long residency in New York in 2013, and why the rest of the art world hates him so much;
“[He] speaks with a directness that much contemporary art lacks… [just] because it is obvious and popular does not take away from the fact that it is brilliant art…”
This tattoo is a tribute to him, to his works and the way he has helped to revolutionise the way we exhibit and view art. It’s a permanent reminder to create art for the right reasons, despite Banksy’s somewhat illegal canvases. Some call him a vandal, others call him a genius. I call him an inspiration.