Banksy is an extremely well-known street artist in the United Kingdom and globally but is he deserving of the fame? There are millions of graffiti artists in the world and yet Banksy is one of the few with a recognizable, household name. He has been doing street art since the 1990s and has become a distinguished artist for his political commentary pieces. His identity remains unknown to the public yet he is such a prominent figure in the media. He primarily paints on public walls that are in high traffic areas. These walls are often then sold for millions of dollars as his artwork is so highly valued. Why is Banksy’s work so different from other street artists? His work is extreme political commentary often calling out the government, capitalism, and the police. His work is made with intention and is thought-provoking.
Though Banksy’s art is thought-provoking, Banksy does something millions of others do, graffiti art. Every day people are fined and put in jail over graffiti art and yet his is being sold for millions of dollars. Walls are being removed in order to sell his pieces all over the world while other graffiti artists’ works are simply painted over. He was actually taken to court over this and yet he won his case because of his name recognition and his influence. Although, is this fair to the millions of other talented artists doing the same work? Banksy has even gained international recognition. Who decided Banksy’s work was worth millions while artists using his exact same composition of illegal art should be punished? It is also interesting to note that Banksy’s work is often political commentary and yet he receives no punishment from those he is criticizing, ie: the government and police. He also does extensive commentary on capitalism and yet his work is promoted by capitalism, being sold at high prices in expensive museums to wealthy individuals. Banksy has become a beneficiary of the thing he claims to hate.
Though his work is thought-provoking, is it really worthy of special attention and millions of dollars? The biggest part of Banksy’s fame really stems from his anonymity. The public has a fascination as they do not know who is behind these valued pieces, which only increases his value. If Banksy’s identity was revealed, his pieces would lose much of their value. The public pays for the exclusivity and excitement of owning a piece done by someone everyone knows but no one really knows. The public pays for the mystery and secrecy of his unknown identity. Banksy is well aware of this fact and it is the reason he keeps his identity a secret – it increases the value of his art and preserves his worth.