A wall is a very big weapon. It's one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.
Banksy is a famous artist, most well-known for his stencil-based graffiti. He was born in Bristol, England in the mid '70s. That's really all we know about him. While a photograph of him unmasked has turned up
, his real name remains unknown. Despite this he has become quite popular, sold paintings, put on gallery shows, in 2005 released a photo book of his work, Wall and Piece
, and in 2010 made an Oscar-nominated documentary film, Exit Through the Gift Shop
. He has also been immortalized in the They Might Be Giants
I see that Banksy left a post-it note, for Anonymous, for Anonymous.
His work is often politically charged and rather funny. He's been compared to Andy Warhol
for their similar sense of humor. You can see more of his work here.
"Exit Through The Trope Shop":
- Anachronism Stew:
- Anti-Villain: While he is doing illegal artwork and many cite him as menace to society, many love his art and talk about him like Robin Hood. In fact he might be an Anti-Hero at this point.
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison
"Is graffiti art or vandalism? That word has a lot of negative connotations and it alienates people, so no, I don't like to use the word 'art' at all."
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: After one of his paintings broke records at an auction he auctioned off a piece called "I Can't Believe You Morons Buy This Shit."
- Canis Latinicus: He's dabbled in it. For example, his pen name in "Caveman with Shopping Cart" is Banskymus Maximus.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Eagleland: Invoked type 2 with a poster in Britain reading "Americans working overhead" along with silhouettes of some soldiers and a Black Hawk helicopter.
- Eat the Rich: Used the phrase in one of his works with his own humorous slant.◊
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Banksy loves◊ to paint monkeys. His mask is a smoking monkey as seen above.
- The Faceless: He was this for a long time until a photo of him was published (see below)
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: "GUARDED 24 HOURS (by a drowsy fat bloke reading pornography)"
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Only one photograph of him is known to exist.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: He claimed this is how he can get away with what he does in such a surveillance-centric culture as modern Britain. Dressing up in black and sneaking around in the dead of night is far more likely to get you noticed than standing there in broad daylight in a high-vis tabard.
- Hypocritical Humor
"We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves."
- His list of people who should be shot: "Fascist thugs, religious fundamentalists, people who write lists telling you who should be shot."
- Indy Ploy: Banksy intended to paint "Laugh now but one day we'll be in charge" in Spanish in animal enclosures in the Barcelona zoo. Upon realizing he lost the note he had the translation on, he just painted some tally-marks to make the animals look like bored prisoners.
- Iwo Jima Pose: Has appeared in not one◊ but two◊ of his works.
- Literary Allusion Title: Wall and Piece is presumably a reference to War and Peace.
- Love It or Hate It: "People either love me or they hate me, or they don't really care."
- Lover's Ledge: This◊ painting is a good example.
- Made doubly hilarious by the fact that it's painted on a wall of a sexual health clinic.
- My Beloved Smother: "Lots of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves."
- My God, What Have I Done?: Done near the end of Exit Through the Gift Shop when Mr. Brainwash becomes an artist.
- No Peripheral Vision: Pointed out in Wall and Piece. The fact that cops often have some sort of visor that exacerbates the human habit of not looking up is a huge boon to Banksy.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name was said to be Robin Banksnote or Robin Gunningham, but we can't know for certain.
- Patriotic Fervor: Denounced. "Those who enjoy waving flags don't deserve to have one."
- Reclusive Artist: Part of the reason he's so popular.
- Refuge in Audacity: Putting up his painting in the Louvre without being caught.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: A rat that's three stories tall.◊
- Rule-Abiding Rebel: A poster stating "Graffiti Artists Must Report To Reception Before Starting Work".
- Self-Deprecation: Constantly, when asked to comment on a guess at his identity he said this:
"I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as being 'good at drawing' doesn't sound like Banksy to me."
- Those Wacky Nazis: Inserted into the otherwise unexceptional landscape painting "The Banality of the Banality of Evil".
- Shout-Out: Evokes iconic photographs and pop culture imagery in his work.
- True Art Is Angsty: Spoofed with "The Banality of the Banality of Evil", the title of which suggests that simply putting a Nazi officer into a painting will not automatically make it more deep.
- Watershed: Possibly unintentional example. One of Banksy's stencils shows Queen Bessie shoving her cooch into a poor girl's face. Whenever he painted it, it would quickly be removed...with the exception of one installment on a shop shutter, meaning the painting can only be seen after 9:00 PM when the shop closes.
- Weirdness Censor: Banksy, like most graffiti artists, uses this to his advantage. There are several photos of Banksy painting in the middle of the day with no one caring.
"The easiest way to become invisible is to wear a day-glo vest."