OPINION: Bansky, A Modern Aesthetic Genius

By Manale Zouhir

Banksy's signature. (via Wikimedia)A pseudonymous graffiti artist who goes by the name of “Banksy” has recently been showing up in the news. He is known to be from the United Kingdom, with street art in places around the world. Banksy's signature. (via Wikimedia)  

The most questionable part about Banksy is not his art, but himself. No one knows who he really is, or his true identity. He has yet to be revealed, though there are a few instances where people have leaked fake photos or fake stories have been released. However, none of these have been proven true, leaving his identification a mystery, even after over twenty years.

“Art should comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” This quote has been proven by his controversial artwork, which has poked fun at the American government as well as other political and international issues. He writes and draws what he sees and thinks.

I have a lot of respect for Banksy. The idea that he has not been revealed after such a long period of time shows dedication. There must be a reason for masking his artwork, as well as his identity. He claims that it is because “if you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask.”

“If you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask. If you want to be honest then you have to live a lie.” - Banksy

In my opinion, Banksy is one of the most important artists in modern society. When I first discovered him, I was shocked and amazed. His graffiti shows true and honest opinions about society. The art he creates really causes the viewers to look at things in a different perspective.

In his book, Wall and Piece, Bansky urges the reader to “imagine a city where graffiti wasn't illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring.” He adds,  “a city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall -- it's wet.”

Graffiti of a woman with a shopping trolley falling down the side of a building. Items are falling out of the trolley. (via Wikimedia) Graffiti of a woman with a shopping trolley falling down the side of a building. Items are falling out of the trolley.Banksy’s graffiti isn’t permanent, but for the amount of time that it is displayed, before being washed away, it is extremely influential. This is what I love most about his art; every piece is unique and has an expiration date.

His art is also visually appealing. Banksy mixes several textures, patterns, and styles using stencils to create bold statements. This is provocative and controversial, filled with puns and some unpopular opinions. I think it is really important that his art is not only appealing to the eye, but to the mind. It makes you think twice about the message, which is a really smart move for someone who wants to get their ideas across.

By challenging issues that are relevant and current, including politics, art and world news, Banksy creates attention-grabbing pieces, showing the true meaning of art. He criticises the hypocrisy and double standards in our lives. The world truly is his canvas, and with his art, he is showing rebellion towards the social norm.  

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