"A wall is a very big weapon. It's one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with."—Banksy
Banksy is a famous artist, most well-known for his graffiti. He was born in Bristol, England in the mid 1970s. That's really all we know about him. Any photo we have of him is obscured. Despite this he has become quite popular, sold paintings, put on gallery shows, and in 2005 released a photo book of his work, Wall and Piece, and in 2010 made an Oscar-nominated documentary film, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
- Anachronism Stew:
- His famous "Caveman With Shopping Cart" painting, which he snuck into the British Museum.
- "Boudicca with wheel clamp". Just the bronze statue of Boudicca with a wheel clamp on the chariot.
- Anti-Villain: While he is doing illegal artwork and many cite him as menace to society, many love his art and talk about him like Robin Hood. In fact he might be an Anti-Hero at this point.
- Bait and Switch Comparison
"Is graffiti art or vandalism? That word has a lot of negative connotations and it alienates people, so no, I don't like to use the word 'art' at all."
- Biting the Hand Humor: After one of his paintings broke records at an auction he auctioned off a piece called "I Can't Believe You Morons Buy This Shit."
- Canis Latinicus: He's dabbled in it. For example, his pen name in "Caveman with Shopping Cart" is Banskymus Maximus.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Eagle Land: Invoked type 2 with a poster in Britain reading "Americans working overhead" along with silhouettes of some soldiers and a Black Hawk helicopter.
- Eat the Rich: Used the phrase in one of his works with his own humorous slant.
- Everything Is Better With Monkeys: Banksy loves to paint monkeys. His mask is a smoking monkey as seen above.
- The Faceless: There are no confirmed pictures of Banksy, despite the fact he's a world renowned artist.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: "GUARDED 24 HOURS (by a drowsy fat bloke reading pornography)"
- Hypocritical Humor
"We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves."
- His list of people who should be shot: "Fascist thugs, religious fundamentalists, people who write lists telling you who should be shot."
- Indy Ploy: Banksy intended to paint "Laugh now but one day we'll be in charge" in Spanish in animal enclosures in the Barcelona zoo. Upon realizing he lost the note he had the translation on, he just painted some tally-marks to make the animals look like bored prisoners.
- Iwo Jima Pose: Has appeared in not one but two of his works.
- Literary Allusion Title: Wall and Piece is presumably a reference to War and Peace.
- Love It or Hate It: "People either love me or they hate me, or they don't really care."
- Lovers Ledge: This painting is a good example.
- Made doubly hilarious by the fact that it's painted on a wall of a sexual health clinic.
- My Beloved Smother: "Lots of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves."
- My God, What Have I Done?: Done near the end of Exit Through the Gift Shop when Mr. Brainwash becomes an artist.
- No Peripheral Vision: Pointed out in Wall and Piece. The fact that cops often have some sort of visor that exacerbates the human habit of not looking up is a huge boon to Banksy.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name was said to be Robin Banks or Robin Gunningham, but we can't know for certain.
- Patriotic Fervor: Denounced. "Those who enjoy waving flags don't deserve to have one."
- Reclusive Artist: Part of the reason he's so popular.
- Refuge in Audacity: Putting up his painting in the Louvre without being caught.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: A rat that's three stories tall.
- Rule-Abiding Rebel: A poster stating "Graffiti Artists Must Report To Reception Before Starting Work".
- Self-Deprecation: Constantly, when asked to comment on a guess at his identity he said this:
"I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as being 'good at drawing' doesn't sound like Banksy to me."
- Watershed: Possibly unintentional example. One of Banksy's stencils shows Queen Bessie shoving her cooch into a poor girl's face. Whenever he painted it, it would quickly be removed...with the exception of a shop shutter, meaning the painting can only be seen after 9:00 PM when the shop closes.
- Weirdness Censor: Banksy, like most graffiti artists, use this to their advantage. There are several photos of Banksy painting in the middle of the day with no one caring.
"The easiest way to become invisible is to wear a day-glo vest."
- Robin Banks? Like robbin' banks? Yeah, right.