But Banksy himself is another mystery — because no one knows who he is! According to people who have interviewed him, he was born in 1974 and is from Bristol, England. His artwork is mostly a combination of graffiti and stencils, and it has shown up in cities all over the world. But what makes him different from the average graffiti artist is the message that his art has. He wants to shock people and make them think about things they take for granted in their every day life.
My favorite example of this is from 2004, when he hung up his own painting (a painting that looked like the Mona Lisa but with a yellow smiley face) in the Louvre in Paris, France (which is the museum where the real Mona Lisa is on display). His painting was taken down by the museum staff, but
having it up wasn’t the point. When asked about it, Banksy supposedly said, “To actually go through the process of having a painting selected must be quite boring. It’s a lot more fun to go and put your own one up.” I don’t recommend you do that, but you should question art. Just because someone has deemed something museum-worthy doesn’t mean it has to be good (and vice versa!).
This October, when I found out that Banksy had opened a “store” in NYC, I made sure to go check it out.
The Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill looked like a regular storefront, resembling a pet store at first glance.
Just a bunny in the window. Or is it?
Then, you take a closer look:
Banksy’s rabbit is testing cosmetics!
Each of the eight exhibits required a double (and sometimes triple) take.
What you think is a large cat sitting in a tree turns out to be a fur coat:
And, a chicken and chicken nuggets share a coop:
The chicken nuggets peck for BBQ sauce.
What you can’t see in the photographs is that all of these “animals” were animatronic. That means there were little robot-like motors in them. The cat’s tail (or coat’s arm) was twitching back and forth. The nuggets really pecked.
But I think the pièce de résistance was Banksy’s take on people:
And I’ll leave you with that because the point of Banksy’s work is figuring out what you think about it.
— Carly H., STACKS Staffer