Banksy is the pseudonym of a “guerrilla” street artist known for his controversial, and often politically themed, stencilled pieces. “We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves.” ~ Banksy. Banksy, a street artist whose identity remains unknown, is believed to have been born in Bristol, UK around 1974. He rose to prominence for his provocative stencilled pieces in the late 1990s. Banksy is the subject of a 2010 documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which examines the relationship between commercial and street art. Banksy began his career as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s, in Bristol’s graffiti gang DryBreadZ Crew. Although his early work was largely freehand, Banksy used stencils on occasion. By the late 1990s, he began using stencils predominantly. His work became more widely recognized around Bristol and in London, as his signature style developed. Banksy’s artwork is characterized 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. In addition to his two-dimensional work, Banksy is known for his installation artwork. One of the most celebrated of these pieces, which featured a live elephant painted with a Victorian wallpaper pattern, sparked controversy among animal rights activists.
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