In August 2021, Banksy took a special vacation in Norfolk and Suffolk where he painted a series of spectacular artworks. Pieces appeared in a range of East Anglian towns in England, including Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Oulton Broad, Gorleston-on-Sea, King’s Lynn, and Cromer. Known as “A Great British Spraycation,” the public exhibition captured the attention of many lovers and haters of graffiti art far beyond the UK.
These days, the phrase “Banksy exhibitions” sounds a bit confusing and misleading, as the last official artist’s exhibit was “Gross Domestic Product” in Croydon, England, in 2019. But what about all those shows popping all across the world from time to time? Well, Banksy simply called them all “fake” on his official website since they were organized without his knowledge or involvement. By the way, the famous exhibition at the Moco Museum in Amsterdam is one of them. After some time, people just started dividing all the events into official and unofficial, with the last obviously being the most prevalent type out of the two. How many of those Banksy street art exhibitions are official, and what can be done with “unofficial” ones?
The 2004 Banksy print “Love Rat” went unsold at the Anderson and Garland auction house on June 16. A famous street artist’s artwork was estimated at £30,000-50,000 ($31,000-67,000), but a widely recognizable work didn’t even make it to the lowest reserve price set by the Newcastle-based auctioneers. At the same time, Banksy’s original “The Merrivale Stable” was sold by the same auction house for £1 million ($1,2 million) earlier this year in January. So what was the reason behind an unsuccessful sale, and should there be one?
Is stealing a product of illegal actions considered a crime? As the recent story from Partis shows us, yes, it is a crime. Several days ago, a group of thieves who stole a Banksy artwork on the door of the Bataclan concert venue in January 2019 was found. The famous street painter created it back in 2015 to honor 90 people killed by terrorists of the Islamic State. Several places were attacked that night, but the biggest number of victims was at the Bataclan music hall. Right now, eight men are on trial for stealing “The Sad Young Girl,” a more down-to-earth title of a piece. The case sparked off traditional Banksy controversy in public, as the price of the artwork is already worth millions of dollars.
Some people would say that Banksy’s style is nothing new and is hardly innovative for modern-day street art. However, one should not forget that the elusive mural painter started his graffiti career in the early 90s, and back then, it was a breath of fresh air for the industry. As of today, Banksy is more of an individual brand and a mark of quality that people easily recognize and value. He doesn’t need to compete with anyone, and yet his noticeable style, or rather how it is used, deserves a special mention. So, can you create street art like Banksy? And what is his secret?