Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Banksy's cover has been blown?
Gasp, horror! Banksy isn't a fictional character. His cover has been blown. He's an actual person who makes art. Worse than that, according to the Mail on Sunday, he went to public school. He's middle class! He lived in suburbia! What did people expect? That just because he started with graffiti and grew into street art that he was some council estate hoodie with a knife?
The Mail on Sunday allegedly spent a year tracking him down - discovering the earth-shattering news that Banksy is a bloke called Robert Gunningham (who went to the same school as Sophie Anderton - though at different times). Spiced up with old interviews, the life the Mail describes is pretty dull. Bloke has middle management parents, goes to school, likes graffiti, makes some art, lives with some mates, moves to London from Bristol. Not exactly headline worthy.
The question of the artist's anonymity seized the public - and more importantly the media - since he first started making serious money. And that's the main issue. The secrecy of Banksy's identity seems to be much more about the public's fascination with celebrity and money than anything to do with art. Who is this invisible person raking in the cash and why isn't he in the pages of Heat magazine or sleazing it up at the back of Art Review? It's a good piece of marketing spin that the artist himself has played up by keeping quiet. If Banksy is a brand, will it be damaged by his outing?
But from an artistic point of view, will Banksy's exposure make his work better or worse now people know who he is? It may make his ability to make a street piece a little more difficult if coppers can follow him home afterwards. (That is assuming the police waste as much time and money as the Mail has on tracking him down.)
Perhaps in some way it's a good shift in people's perceptions of street artists and graffiti writers. They are not all naughty teenagers. Considering that scrawling on streets became popular in the UK in the 1980s, its not surprising that many street artists are closer to 40 than 15. They come from varied backgrounds and they make varied work. The question isn't who is Banksy. The question is who cares?
Geplaatst door anonymous op Tuesday, July 15, 2008