EXERCISE 1: HERO
Do you have a hero in your field?
Since I was sixteen years old, my artworks and concepts have been heavily influenced by London graffiti artist, Banksy. Banksy rose to prominence for his provocative stenciled pieces in the late 1990s. His pictorial and satirical messages cross the boundaries between art, philosophy, politics, sociology, and humour narcissism. His work strikes a chord with many, particularly youth, for blunt usage of messages within an art-form that was often regarded as existent only within the margins of society.
Describe his/ her practice/ work.
Banksy’s work tends to be bold and sweeping, his style so distinct that it is difficult to mistake his work for anyone else. Through his incorporation of elements of surrealism, such as a dog shooting a record player, Banksy allows his vision to remain fresh. Banksy’s artwork is characterised by striking images, often combined with slogans. His work often engages political themes, satirically critiquing war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed. Common subjects include rats, apes, policemen, members of the royal family, and children.
Some of my favourite works were create in 2005. Banksy travelled to Palestine and the West Bank where he stencilled nine images on the Bethlehem Wall. These works show children digging and playing near the wall, an armoured dove with an olive branch, a girl frisking a soldier, a ladder ascending the wall, a girl floating over the wall with balloons and several other pieces. This ground-breaking series led to a second exhibit in Los Angeles entitled Barely Legal. This three-day exhibit featured a variety of vandalized art and a pink “elephant in the room,” which symbolizes the ever-present issue of world poverty. The elephant featured a flashy Indo-style print with gold motifs set over the elephant’s painted skin.
Describe how his/ her practice is situated in a larger field. For example, are they pioneers in what they do? Or perhaps their works challenge the conventional ways of thinking or working? Or they are recognised as being excellent in their fields?
Banksy isn’t seen as just an artist, but also as a philosopher and political spokesman against capitalism, war, theism, totalitarianism and fascism. By stirring the youth with broad and direct statements, as well as through his constant subversion of authority, Banksy has managed to develop a large following. Melbourne graffiti artist, Lushsux, is heavily influenced by Banksy’s style of political work. His works are based around political leaders and anything deemed ‘meme’ worthy. Similarly to Banksy, Lushsux identity has remained unknown to the public.
Lushsux's mural of Hillary Clinton in Footscray
What is the most important thing for them that they ‘hold dear’? What is their core value that they never deviate from?
His view of the world is utterly simplistic, and in that very agreeable to many, especially youth. Although critics say that Banksy is merely a vandal and his work is dazzlingly clever to idiots, his fame is undeniable. Virtually every aspect of Banksy’s work is controversial, and perhaps that is the secret behind his success.
How do you relate to this core value?
Many of the artworks I have created were influenced by current political regimes. I enjoy creating works that comment of society’s status as well as our obsession with technology. My artworks attempt to provoke an audience’s reaction and spark retrospect, whether it be for its unusually large scale, or by the location that the artwork is placed in i.e. a street or shopping centre. These elements of my personal style are clearly influenced by Banksy’s works, although I do not work with graffiti, I have encompassed many of his techniques.