If you are a student doing art in secondary school, I strongly recommend that you read this article.
Art teachers generally accept Banksy as an artist they can use as an example in schools, so they can get kids thinking about the “debate” of art vs. vandalism. I used to like Banksy as a teenager because he was controversial. Now, I hate him. Why? Because the controversy is very shallow. But it’s more than that. It’s about the wider hypocrisy of it all.
Banksy’s art style generally consists of using graffiti to create art pieces that engage in social commentary. The very fact that his work involves spraying walls with graffiti, and the fact that doing so is illegal, is what sparks the debate of “art vs. vandalism”. For me, Banksy’s work is both. It’s art because it has meaning and tries to carry out a message, but it’s vandalism because of his methods. So why is he a sham? Read the next paragraph and I’ll tell you.
Banksy has become so popular, that any appearance in the media will make the media act like a bunch of teenage girls swooning over Brad Pitt after they kidnapped him for the sole purpose of wanting to make sweet softy love to him! It’s just horrifying when that happens! All jokes aside, this popularity has meant that the government won’t prosecute Banksy if he graffitis all over the place, because to the government, it counts as art. But any other graffiti artists trying the same thing will get arrested if caught. Here’s an example.
King Robbo, widely known for his artistic feud with Banksy, is an underground graffiti artist who may be just like Banksy. However, he could be arrested, or his art could get washed away, because as far as the government is concerned, it’s vandalism. But they won’t wash away Banksy’s work because to them, it counts as art. Not to mention, Banksy actually makes money off of his work, making him a sell-out. I guess in modern times, it’s only art if it can be sold at an extremely high price.
Banksy’s rebellious commentary is also a sham because it’s just the same liberal messages we’re used to hearing from pop stars and Hollywood actors. Also, his work only gets attention because of shock value. A good friend lists Banksy as guilty of a kind of false rebellion, which he talks about in his blog post:
Overall, Banksy isn’t a real role model, because he effectively encourages activity that is not only illegal, but is only protected if you’re Banksy. And that is why Banksy is a sham.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that there already was an article from the blogs of The Independent that goes into great detail as to why Banksy is a deceptive artist. The link is here: