Banksy makes his mark across America

Arts Correspondent,Arifa Akbar
Monday 07 June 2010 00:00
Comments

His inimitable stencil graffiti has been spotted on urban landmarks, street corners, housing estates and municipal buildings across the world, from the Palestinian territories to Los Angeles, Australia and his home town of Bristol.

Now, the street artist known as Banksy has completed a tour of North America, leaving a trail of humorous, anarchic and socially scathing graffiti which has been variously whitewashed by state authorities, admired by passers-by, vandalised by rivals and enthusiastically photographed by his fans.

Following the Sundance Film Festival premiere of his film Exit through the Gift Shop in January, which told the story of several street artists – including himself and Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles – the artist took a tour through Canada and North America, leaving his graffiti art footprints wherever he went.

The tour follows a series of works created in San Francisco to coincide with the film's premiere, when five pieces appeared in the city. Last month, six new Banksy pieces appeared in Toronto and Ontario, although most were subsequently removed. One featured a businessman, briefcase in hand, with a sign around his neck which read: "0% interest in people."

Banksy also visited Detroit and left his mark in three places, one featuring a young boy holding a can of red paint next to the words: "I remember when all this was trees."

His work has most recently been spotted in Boston and New York. In the Chinatown district of Boston, one image shows a graffiti artist who has crossed out the words "follow your dreams", replacing them with the word "cancelled" in red paint.

A number of images have caused controversy. One piece attributed to him featured Osama bin Laden in view of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Another depicted a rat with a shovel, apparently attempting to dig itself out of Alcatraz Island, the site of the former high-security prison.

The online graffiti community, many of whom have travelled to America to document the images as they appear and disappear, reported that "maintenance staff of the land owner [in Alcatraz] painted over the artwork".

Street artists have hailed Banksy's US tour as one of his most prolific periods on the streets for years. They welcomed the return of the small "Banksy rats" which he began stencilling early in his career, which have since become one of his trademarks.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in