The works of Banksy are provocative, subversive, critical, humorous and inspiring. This makes him one of the most famous graffiti artists in the world. The amazing thing is that he has turned street art into an integral element of modern culture and art. Let's take a look at the path to his worldwide success.
Banksy started his career as a graffiti artist somewhere between 1990 and 1994 in Bristol, England. His works appeared on walls and massive objects such as trains and boats. The images he created were impressive with their humorous and satirical nature and the powerful social message which they brought with them. During the first decade of his career, the artist's main subjects were rats, apes, children, elderly and police officers and soldiers. In the 1990's, he started using stencils extensively because they gave him sufficient time to think his works through and to create them on walls fairly quickly.
The graffiti artist held his first exhibition called Existencilism in Los Angeles in 2002. The following year, he presented his works created on live animals in an exhibition called Turf War held in London. It is thought that around this time Banksy started redrawing famous paintings such as Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet in a subversive fashion. These works were exhibited in London in 2005. In the same year, he painted nine striking images on Israeli West Bank Barrier wall.
Barely Legal is one of the most famous exhibitions of the graffiti artist to date. Held in Los Angeles in 2006, it featured a painted elephant staying in the middle of the gallery and provocative prints and paintings such as the one depicting Queen Victoria as a lesbian.
With this exhibition, the Banksy craze began. His works started selling at the most famous auction houses in the world. Some of his most highly valued prints and paintings include Balloon Girl, Glory, Bombing Middle England and Space Girl & Bird. The owners of property with the artist graffiti on it started selling their assets as pricey art works.
In 2008, the artist created a large number of works in New Orleans to commemorate the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He opened his first exhibition in New York called Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill. He gathered a group of graffiti art artists from around the world to exhibit their works in an abandoned train tunnel in London naming the event The Cans Festival.
In 2009, the artist opened his show Banksy vs. Bristol Museum in Bristol. In 2010, the artist released his film Exit through the Gift Shop which received an Oscar nomination for best documentary.
We can only wait to see more staggering works from Banksy, who is one of the most influential graffiti artists of our time.