About the artist Banksy
Banksy is an
English-based graffiti artist, political activist and film
director whose real identity is unknown. His satirical street
art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti
executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of
political and social commentary have been featured on streets,
walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. Banksy's
work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved
collaborations between artists and musicians. Observers have
noted that his style is similar to Blek le Rat, who began to
work with stencils in 1981 in Paris. Banksy says that he was
inspired by "3D", a graffiti artist who later became
a founding member of Massive Attack, an English musical
Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. Banksy does not sell photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, but art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder. Banksy's first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, billed as "the world's first street art disaster movie", made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film was released in the UK on 5 March 2010. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film. In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.
Banksy's name and identity remain unknown, but a commonly cited 2008 Mail on Sunday investigation of several former schoolmates and associates stated that he is believed to be Robin Gunningham, a former pupil at the public Bristol Cathedral School. There has also been speculation that Banksy is a woman, or that Banksy is a team of seven artists. In October 2014 an internet hoax circulated that Banksy had been arrested and his identity revealed. It has been stated that the reason for this secrecy is that graffiti is a crime.