The Banksy Brand: How the Elusive Street Artist Played the Art Market | Artinfo
Original story at Artinfo• 4 mentions • 10 months ago
Artinfo 10 months ago
Banksy gave up spraying freehand graffiti back in the early 1990s when he discovered that stencils were more “quick, clean, crisp, and efficient,” as he once told an interviewer. He didn’t care that other artists in his Bristol crew considered it cheating. “As soon as I cut my first stencil I could feel the power there. The ruthlessness and efficiency of it is perfect.”Banksy’s language here is telling. It is precisely the kind of strict, economical approach the anonymous artist has applied to his entire career, which has taken him, if not from rough working-class roots — his street cred is widely debated — then at least from suburban Bristol malaise to international stardom. His studio-painted canvases now command upwards of $1 million, his popup exhibitions draw hundreds of thousands of visitors without any advertising, and collectors pay to carve out stone walls, bus stops, water towers, and just about any other structure on which Banksy has left his mark.This is all thanks to the mystery-machine that Banksy and his tight inner circle have used to lure legions of fans. But the urge to pierce the mystery should not be what attracts readers to Will Ellsworth-Jones’s book “Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall,” coming to the U.S. this month from St. Martin’s Press. Despite the somewhat misleading subtitle, it never seeks to unmask its subject.