* 1975 Bristol
Banksy, without a doubt the most famous street artist of the present, whose works have long made it into collections of celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, is still a largely unknown person. His name alone is a mystery: Who hides behind the pseudonym "Banksy"? Is it a Robin Banks, a Robert Banks or a Robin Gunningham, which an English newspaper claimed to have revealed in 2008? Was he born in 1975 or at least 1974, and is his birthplace actually Bristol or is it in its wider surroundings? Since Banksy makes such a big secret of his identity, his parents, as they say, are still convinced that their son still earns his living as a decorator.
But this is definitely not what Banksy has to do, because the street artist has long been fully established. Many of his works face the same fate as those stencils in London that show a rat playing with a ball: The artwork was secretly knocked out of the wall and offered for sale by an online auction house. The neighborhood was appalled at the loss of the work.
In Banksy's Stencil Art, as the stencil style is called, he shows to be an artist with a lot of humor and irony, but also with the right degree of social criticism and an anarchist urge. In recent actions, these properties also nourish an increasingly conceptual orientation of his art. For example, Banksy humanizes penguins at the London Zoo by putting up a protest banner in an operation in the dead of the night in their enclosure, which read " We are bored of eating fish". Especially subversive and subtle is Banksy's action of placing a life-sized doll in Guantánamo prisoner garment next to a roller coaster at Disneyland. Visitors riding past this object at high speed suffer a nasty shock, because they can not recognize it as a staging at first sight. The cheerful illusory world of amusement parks is confronted with reality in an almost brutal way .
Banksy's humorous "Museum smuggling" is also of great conceptual value: Banksy secretly brings his own works to the world's most famous museums, thus sort of parodying the houses' icons: At the Paris Louvre the visitor suddenly sees a second "Mona Lisa" with a Smiley face; at the New York Museum of Modern Art a tomato soup can from the company Tesco satirizes Andy Warhol's famous silkscreen series; at the British Museum in London a fake rock painting shows a caveman pushing a shopping cart. With this work Banksy not only questions peoples' consumer behavior, he also wittily criticizes the social acceptance of Graffiti: The caption of the exhibit in pretense notes that only a few such works are preserved, as city officials usually remove them immediately. After one week, the British Museum included Banksy's cave paintings into the permanent exhibition.
Banksy lives and works in Bristol.