99 acts of vandalism by BANKSY
BANSKY is the famous Bristolian artist, a master of witty one liners. They say he’s called Robin Gunningham. The Banksy part came from his nickname Robin Banx. He went to Bristol Cathedral School. He left with an E grade in his art GCSE. Other than that, we know little.
His rebellious, law-dodging underground-style works well. And it’s managed well. In 2009, his work showcased at “Banksy versus the Bristol Museum”, an event billed as an “audacious heist”. Not quite. He organised the event. Although he only charged £1 for doing so. There was a long contract and one key condition: all CCTV footage of him at the venue was destroyed.
“I still paint graffiti because I genuinely think the side of a canal is a more interesting place to have art than a museum,” he counters. “And the fact of the matter is, if you exhibit in a gallery you have to compete against Rembrandt, but if you paint down an alley you only have to compete against a dustbin. I guess it’s the art equivalent of hanging around with fat people to make yourself look thin.”
People love his work. It’s valuable. People who collect art like the reassuringly expensive. His LA show in 2006 is thought to have made him around $5m. In 2008, his works sold for $1,870,000 at Sotheby’s, New York. The prices are rising.
This year, Slave Labour was removed from the outside wall of a Poundland shop in Wood Green, North London. It then reappeared on a Florida-based website, Fine Art Auctions. Had it been stolen? Can you steal vandalism? He says:
“The money that my work fetches these days makes me a bit uncomfortable, but that’s an easy problem to solve — you just stop whingeing and give it all away.”
The trouble is that can you be subversive and hang in chic galleries, where only the very rich can afford to shop?