Artist Analysis: Banksy
Within this blog post I will be talking about the artist analysis of Banksy and his artwork Flying Balloons Girl. The formal context of this work includes the smooth look of the spray paint on the concrete but the rough feel of the concrete when you go to touch the work. The girl holding the balloon is about 12 feet tall. And about 6 feet off the ground. Although not in realistic scale, the image depicts a little girl from the age of 3-5 holding 8 balloons that are also not to scale. One can take note that the balloons are painted perfectly round, not oval shape like a helium filled balloons would be. I was unable to find the reasoning behind why he made them round; however there was a theory of that 7 of the balloons represent the Jewish, Christian and Muslim apocalyptic texts. (Stencil Revolution) The Image is painted with 8 balloons so I did not look further into the theory.
Banksy is a very well-known artist in today’s time for his anti-war, anti-capitalism, or anti-establishment artwork. As his identity is unknown to the public, he is believed to be a native to Yale, South Gloucestershire. He confirmed in a masked interview that he was born in 1974, making him 40 years old this year. He also confirmed that he was raised in Bristol England, as this is where he started becoming popular with his artworks. He began to show interest in graffiti artwork in the Great Bristol aerosol Boom; late 1980’s. In 1993 Banksy joined Bristol’s crew BBZ as a freehand graffiti artist. He became inspired by the underground Bristol artists; from here Banksy’s artwork began to grow. From 1993 to 2000 Banksy’s art was all freehand images, in the year 2000 he turned to the art of stencil. He changed to stencilling while he was hiding under a train carriage and he noticed the stencilled serial number underneath (Iriarte). He realized by using stencils that he could complete pieces a lot quicker than doing his work free-handed. Banksy quickly became more noticed after he started using this technique. Most of Banksy’s artwork contains rats, monkeys, policemen, soldiers, children and the Elderly.
Banksy’s identity is not known, however it is commonly believed that it is Robert or Robin Banks. There have been reports of bystanders seeing him with his assistant moving a ladder and scaffolding and a truck, and there has been a picture taken of a man who people think are to be Banksy (Iriarte). However, most fans do not want to know the identity of their favorite graffiti street artist, nor will the artist agree or disagree to the rumor of his identity.
When it comes down to technique Banksy has a very simple approach; efficiency. Usually stencils are drawn out or printed on acetate or cardboard. This is the most that is known considering the fact that his identity is unknown. It seems though that he does use computers for his work because of some of the characters he reproduces. All stencils are cut out by hand. Banksy has not stated if he has any influences, but his work has been compared to Blek le Rat, another famous graffiti artist.
As stated by Stencil Revolution.com, “The image [Flying Balloons Girl] hearkens back to one’s childhood idealism, the dreams of a child who wishes he/she could fly and float away as if lighter than air” The image itself is concealed with a deep meaning, with themes of freedom, innocence and vulnerability. As already stated, the theme of stenciling and spray painting are evident. This piece is found on a wall in West Bank Israel. The little girl is flying away, which is something both “Palestinian and Israeli children share alike” (Stencil Revolution).
Cascio, Jamis. “Worldchanging | Evaluation + Tools + Best Practices: Banksy on the Bank.” Worldchanging | Evaluation + Tools + Best Practices: Banksy on the Bank. N.p., 8 Aug. 2005. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.
Joseph, Claudia. “Graffiti artist Banksy unmasked … as a former public schoolboy from middle-class suburbia.”Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 12 June 2009. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1034538/Graffiti-artist-Banksy-unmasked—public-schoolboy-middle-class-suburbia.html>.