ENTERING BANKSY’S GIFT SHOP
Updated: Aug 12
This is an article “Entering Banksy's Gift Shop” by Marc Warren
Bansky is arguably the most influential and unorthodox artists of the past generation with his use of street elements and means to convey political and social messages that have mesmerized cultures all over the world. With his unusual ways of resorting to graffiti and vandalism (that certainly might irk more scholarly critics), this Bristol legend has made shockwaves in the modern art world in a strange yet phenomenal manner.
In 2010, a self-directed documentary called Exit Through The Gift Shop helped introduce Banksy to the world as an anonymous street artist who has ties with such others of his kind including Thierry Guetta who documented the entire film. The film gave audiences a sneak peek at how secretive and elaborate Banksy is with his art stunts which propelled him out of obscurity.
Anchoring his work on left-wing principles and non-conforming lifestyles, grand-scale graffitti was the obvious choice for the artist to present his pieces and how the anti-authoritarian culture of Bristol has greatly influenced him. But, perhaps, what appeals to his audiences the most is how he integrates experimentation with risk, humor with activism, and anonymity with populism.
Below are three of Banksy’s most popular works that have made huge impacts in the consciousness of the collective art world.
Certainly loud with sarcasm towards today’s corporate giants, Napalm is one of Banksy’s most recognized works that presents a happy Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald holding a crying and naked girl by her hands as they walk. It is certainly one of Banksy’s effective imagery that can send shivers down one’s spine simply by showing how modern capitalism and advertising can brainwash the public and feed them with false ideologies. It's satirical but drives home a very strong message that combines helpless innocence with the terrors of reality.
Love is in the Air (Flame Thrower)
In 2003, Banksy painted this image of a protestor throwing a bouquet of flowers in place of the usual cocktail molotov by Jerusalem’s West Bank barrier. Since then, it has become one of the most widely used images that depict activism and protest all over the world. This move told of Banksy’s message regarding his favor to push for Palestinian rights concerning the separation issue and marked his brand as a creative force who is out to stir controversy and political discourse.
Love is in the Bin
One of Banksy’s most recent art stunts happened last year’s Love is in the Bin as his other famous work Girl With Balloon was being auctioned at the famous Sotheby’s in London. One thing to note is that surveys identify Girl With Balloon as the most popular and well-loved works from the graffiti artist which made the stunt more impactful than anyone expected.
Going back to the auction when the piece went on for a whopping $1.3 million price tag, Banksy pulls on a horrific prank that instantly shredded the 2006 version of the work into pieces once the gavel was struck down. The stunt made headlines all over the art world for a week, relaying Banksy’s message of how much of a tour de force he really is in even the most elite art circles.