The street artist known as Banksy was born in 1974 and started his career in Bristol in the 1980s. Staying largely anonymous, both as a gimmick and choice, Banksy has quickly gone from the streets to the auction houses.
The street artist known as Banksy was born in 1974 and started his career in Bristol in the 1980s. Using graffiti as his means for artistic expression, in the early days he went as Robin Banx, an obvious play on words, which was later shortened to Banksy. Staying largely anonymous, both as a gimmick, choice, and something graffiti writers often do to stay off the radar of police, Banksy has quickly gone from the streets to the auction houses. In November 2021, Love Is in the Bin, originally titled Girl With Balloon, was sold at auction at Sotheby’s London for $25.4 million. The artist’s reputation and price tags continue to climb, even with unexpected pranks and unpredictability strewn along the way. Remaining anonymous, the artist continues to make work that is politically reactionary, immediate, and almost never what it appears to be at first glance.
In a 2010 article in Smithsonian Magazine, Banksy said: “There’s a whole new audience out there, and it’s never been easier to sell [one’s art]. You don’t have to go to college, drag ’round a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries or sleep with someone powerful, all you need now is a few ideas and a broadband connection. This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people. We need to make it count.”