Once again street artist Banksy is the talk of Bristol and here are some things you may not know about the illusive star.
This week started with rumours the world-renowned artist was finally going to reveal his identity but while that’s yet to happen he did bring joy to pupils at Bridge Farm Primary School by creating a new mural for them.
This is just one of many, many things ways Banksy has surprised us down the years and here’s some things you may or may not know about him.
1. He was part of Bristol’s underground scene
Banksy started as a freehand graffiti artist in the early 1990s and was one of Bristol’s DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ), with Kato and Tes. He was part of the large Bristol underground scene with Nick Walker, Inkie and 3D.
2. He put Princess Diana on the £10 note
In 2004, he was behind a campaign, which saw the Queen replaced on the £10 by Princess Diana. The fake notes were chucked into crowds at the Notting Hill Carnival and Reading Festival. The notes went on to sell for hundreds of pounds online.
3. The Simpsons had Banksy as a guest…sort of
The satirist certainly left his mark on the world’s biggest TV show when he took over their opening credits in 2010. The tongue-in-cheek launch to the programme showed a behind-the-scenes look at the ‘sweatshop’ responsible for putting together the incredibly popular cartoon.
4. Hollywood has come calling too
Throughout the Clive Owen film, Children of Men, released in 200,6 Banksy’s work can be seen. Artwork includes his iconic image of two male police officers kissing as well as the stencilled image of a child looking down at a shop.
5. Musicians love Banksy
The artwork for the 2003 Blur album, Think Tank, which includes songs Out of Time and Good Song, was designed by Banksy. The street artist is known to avoid commercial work but defended his decision to be involved in the project.
He said: “I’ve done a few things to pay the bills, and I did the Blur album. It was a good record and quite a lot of money. I think that’s a really important distinction to make. If it’s something you actually believe in, doing something commercial doesn’t turn it to shit just because it’s commercial.”
6. Bono commissioned some artwork
While working as guest editor for the Independent, the U2 singer, set Banksy the task of producing Sweeping it Under The Carpet which highlights the West’s perceived lack of interest in issues in Africa.
7. They call Banksy Robin
Although, Banksy, has never revealed his identity the rumours are that he’s called Robin Gunningham. This has seen him referred to as Robin Hood on numerous occasions.
8. Banksy’s a painter
Rumour has it Banksy told his mother he worked as a painter. Certainly, in a broad sense that is true but something of an understatement we think.
9. There’s speculation Banksy is a woman
Despite reported sightings of Banksy, the man, working on artwork, there have been suggestions the artist is a woman. Although, some have said Banksy is a actually a team of artists too.
10. He’s been interviewed face to face
Often releasing statements, rather than doing interviews, to safeguard his anonymity, in 2003, feature writer Simon Hattenstone, actually interviewed Banksy.
He described him as being ‘white, 28, scruffy casual – jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring. He looks like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of the Streets’.
11. Not everyone is a fan
Keep Britain Tidy has described Banksy’s street art as being nothing more than vandalism. It is thought, one of the reasons for Banksy’s anonymity, is the fear the authorities might see it the same way.
12. Not all satirists approve…or do they?
In a Guardian piece headlined ‘Supposing … Subversive genius Banksy is actually rubbish’ Charlie Brooker, creator of Black Mirror, said ‘his work looks dazzlingly clever to idiots’.
13. Banksy regularly supports charities
Pieces have been regularly auctioned off in support of a good causes, with Banksy often backing organisations who help blind people.
14. He’s humble and a little conflicted about his success
In an interview with Village Voice he said: “There’s no way round it – commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist. We’re not supposed to be embraced in that way. When you look at how society rewards so many of the wrong people, it’s hard not to view financial reimbursement as a badge of self-serving mediocrity.”
15. He owned Paris Hilton
Banksy was behind a hoax in 2004 where he questioned socialite Paris Hilton’s notoriety. A sticker on the cover said ‘Paris Hilton debut album featuring Why Am I famous? What Have I Done? and What Am I For?’.
He’s a big fan as you can see.
16. He once gave a couple Glastonbury tickets to let him produce a mural on their trailer
In 1998, Banksy asked a couple if he could paint a mural on the side of their 30-foot trailer home. He was a little-known graffiti artist at the time and offered them a pair of tickets to Glastonbury. The couple agreed, not knowing that they would one day be selling this $1,000 mobile home for $500,000 because of the mural on its side.
17. Banksy is one of us
It is thought, Banksy (possibly AKA Robin Gunningham) attended Bristol Cathedral School and down the years many of his former classmates have been interviewed about him. Whoever Banksy is, one thing is for certain, Bristol is incredibly proud of him.