Banksy - The Puzzler (The Honorable Thief)

Another deserted underground alley in the Barton Hill district of Bristol. Another midnight crusade to adorn the city’s walls with a distinctive satirical masterpiece. The Scotland Yard would arrive in twelve minutes to the alleged crime scene, and within ten minutes he would custom-design his stencils, complete the painting, and retreat into the shadows. A true master of his craft, legend has it that he had trained himself to elude the authorities by first completing his sketch, and then reporting a case of his own vandalism through the nearest public telephone booth. Then, having entirely baffled the crime police, he would take his tomfoolery a step further and flaunt his artwork on social media.

On one occasion, when he was especially dauntless, he manifested a gargantuan piece that read 'One Nation Under CCTV' on a particularly grotesque London wall, thus mocking the UK's excessive usage of CCTV's that proved to be an encroachment of privacy on a plethora of occasions.

What will instantly strike you about Banksy's art is not the freestyle splash of color on an otherwise disregarded brick wall, but the bizarre thought- process that goes into culminating each of his works.

Over a span of 20 years, he has "art-bombed" over 127 walls with his creative genius.

There isn't a promenade or citadel in Bristol that has escaped Banksy's brushes. News of this social renegade spread quickly and from his humble beginnings in the UK, he soon traversed the globe, in a seemingly erratic schedule that involved the likes of France, Germany, Somerset, Jerusalem, and Mali.

The beauty in his works lies in the fact that while he can embellish a sketch with the most elegant and sophisticated detailing so as to add an almost ethereal feel to it, he won't hesitate to scrawl abstract paintings on a gritty toilet wall. He refuses to forget his roots, and is a self-proclaimed "Robin Hood" of the arts who believes, if not the law, then at least postmodern art is within the power of the common man. A power that he has since wielded with remarkable dexterity.

A rare occasion where Banksy went supremely large-scale, and constructed a classic London telephone booth with great precision, only to eventually conduct a full-fledged rampage onto it with a pickaxe. Could Banksy really just be Doctor Who? Was this meant to be a self-referential illustration? We'll probably never know.

Here, we see a novice graffiti artist pay his respects to Banksy's self-constructed Western Wall, almost like a 'graffiti shrine'. Many graffiti artists consider Banksy to be a pioneer in the resurgence of street art. In truth, there has since been a hike in graffiti art sales in auction houses right from Britain to Australia, hailed by myriad art critics as the "Banksy effect".

A traditionalist mother packs a meal for her maverick son, who's about to raise outrage at yet another protest walk. Banksy has always been uninhibited about his concern for the unrests in the Middle East, especially in Syria. Such as this piece, titled 'The Son of a Migrant'.

Banksy is notorious for keeping tongue-in-cheek titles for his more ambitious works. While the world regards Steve Jobs as the late co-founder and CEO of Apple, Banksy sheds light on a lesser know fact about him-he is the offspring of a Syrian immigrant. Jobs' father was born as Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, to a prominent Syrian family.

This London piece of a protestor flinging a grenade that mellifluously morphs into a flower bouquet may be Banksy’s most famous piece thus far. It speaks volumes on how political unrest and violence can be muzzled with the potency of art to achieve the chimera of peace that we dream of.

A prominent section of Banksy's career was the great "Graffiti Wars" he indulged in with his senior Robbo, who had always been intensively envious of Banksy's success. Maestro wars are not unfamiliar territory at all in the art universe. Picasso and Matisse thrilled in incessantly taking digs at the other's supposed languid artistic capacity.

It all commenced when Banksy feigned ignorance of Robbo's vapidly famous train artworks, a time when Ribbon was a vanguard in the graffiti movement. Not particularly content with that slighting scorn, Banksy went ahead and painted over Robbo's sketches. Robbie responded with repainting 'King Robbo' in archetypal bold letters, only for Banksy to make the row even more juvenile by painting the letters 'Fuc' right before 'King'.

Banksy has had a fair share of sculpture explorations as well. In this one, Banksy parodies Rodin's ‘The Thinker’ statue and expertly turns it into a commentary on binge-drinking, essentially conflicting with the connotation of ‘thinking’.

Banksy is a self-proclaimed social renegade who, with his own distinctive flair voices his protest against political iconoclasm, animal cruelty, child abuse and terrorism amongst other vital issues. After over twenty years of revolutionizing art, this legend’s identity is yet to be revealed. In fact, Banksy may even be a woman or the moniker of an unbelievably well-concealed organization. His novel method of communicating with the world via pictorial messages piques intrigue across the globe. There is a profusion of life lessons to be learned from this criminal.

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” -Banksy

#AnanyaRoy #Banksy

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