Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"BANKSY" - Genius, Vandal, or who really gives a s#!t...

It has been suggested to me that I stay away from saying anything controversial and more importantly, negative on this Blog. Some of you know that I have been dealing with this issue for a while - "If you want to make money in this world, be quiet and stay positive"...yawn. OK, I can keep it positive...but stay quiet?

BANKSY is an "unknown graffiti artist" from the UK whose work sells for thousands of dollars. Some consider him a genius, others consider him an outlaw and a vandal. Most intelligent people, and the police, really don't seem to care either way. I'm not going to post links here, if you want more information on him you can Google it like I did.

I'm not writing this blog post because I hate Banksy, actually, I don't really care either, unless I hear about how much money he makes for this crap. I'm writing it because I hate bullshit and when the BS alarm starts going off, I can't help but say something.

Let's start with the first sentence..."unknown graffiti artist". "Unknown?" Yeah, sure. Just the media making something out of nothing. If he is unknown how does he get paid? You cant even get a PayPal account without an email address. And what about taxes? At $75,000 a painting you can bet the IRS knows exactly who he is. The old saying "If you want accurate information, follow the trail of money. Didn't he direct something and write a book? Unknown, give me a break. A lot of people have to know who he is.

My favorite use of the word "artist" is "Graffiti Artist", which is just slightly more insulting then "Performance Artist" and both followed closely by "Installation Artist". Graffiti is not art, it's vandalism. No discussion necessary. The surface usually does not belong to you. It would be like me grabbing  someone else's canvas, without permission, putting a painting over theirs, and calling it "better art"...Did the architect who built the building ask to have something added to it? What if Banksy spray painted Saint Patrick's Cathedral or the front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art...would they leave it there and call it art? I doubt it. You know what you call graffiti art when it is done by someone who is really talented? - A mural.

I have said this before but I  don't like to use the word artist in regards to myself. To me it is a compliment, not a job description. It's like the word genius. No one would say, "I'm a professional genius!" unless you are Wiley E. Coyote.

If J.C. Leyendecker came over to my house and said "I'm going to give you my art" (Think about that sentence folks) Of course I would love to have an original Leyendecker!..but I wouldn't want it painted on my front door.

Lets take a look at his genius...not really. To the right is a recent work. He bought the landscape painting at a garage sale and added a Nazi in Uniform to it...It's expected to sell at auction for $75.000. First of all, like the painting or not, maybe the painter of that landscape was proud of it? I have no idea who did it. Who the hell is he to add to it? If he did that to one of my paintings I'd hit him with a brick. And genius!?..It's a tired and obvious idea, so overdone it's not even shocking anymore...and the above graffiti of a dog peeing on a wall...appealing maybe to wealthy Howard Stern Fans, and that's about it. I actually have far more respect for the above painting before it was damaged, because I know that it is not easy to paint them. Maybe Banksy should try painting a realistic landscape. I'd bet him the 75 grand he can't do it...except, I don't have the 75 grand. Besides it's like betting that a chimpanzee can't actually pilot the space already know the answer.

 Lastly, for anyone thinking these are well done. Most graffiti art, made by those who are considered the "best" at it, is done with stencils which are traced beforehand. I've never met a graffiti artist who knew how to draw well on a professional level. Most involves some form of copying or tracing. Just as an example, If I were do do a portrait of John Travolta, and Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction, I would need a minimum of six hours for each head alone. To paint it on a wall would take days not minutes.

For those of you who want to see public art displayed on the sides of buildings, here is some of the work of my friend Garin Baker, who I personally think is the greatest mural painter in history...and one of the finest living painters in general. He gets invited all over the world to do this and should be ten times as famous as Banksy. Look at how many articles CNN has done on Banksy...and how many on Garin?

 Yeah, that is on the side of a building! For more of Garin's mural work visit:
His personal site is:

He also has a Blog I follow:

I actually have no problem with Banksy, or anyone else who wants to make graffiti art. All I ask is that they buy the buildings first, and keep the "art" limited to the ones that they own...that way, I can avoid the streets they are on...

It is also interesting to add that the Police aren't even looking for him - they just don't care...neither should we.


  1. I dont have an informed opinion on Banksy and I was going to stay out of this conversation, but I just ran across an article on CNN about this painting. Apparently the auction is going to benefit a charity and the bidding is expected to eclipse $75,000. If I were the artist of the original painting I would be happy that money is going to charity, but I would be mad that putting poor art over my work made it more attractive to collectors. I guess there really is no accounting for taste.

    As for Gary, well, the man is a great artist IMHO.

  2. Jose,

    I just read an article that said he set up a stand with his name not on it, in Central Park and sold his paintings for $60.00 each. He claims to have sat there for hours with no sales then toward the end of the day wound up making just over $400. I'm not sure if he is laughing at himself, realizing that without the antics he's just about worthless, or laughing at his collectors or both...I might give him credit for that but I still think it's a shame that with all of the talented painters out there that really need the press, CNN gives so much time to this guy's clowning around...

  3. I'm not really sure what those stunts are supposed to prove either. Artists already know that there are some people who like art, but very few that actually buy or can afford to buy art. I wonder how he would have done if he set up at an art fair? I'm sure if he priced them at $75,000 each he would not have sold any unless some mega-rich CEO happened to stroll by.

    I saw something similar a while back where a world famous violinist played in a subway station and very few people dropped any money in his case. At some point a lady (out of literally thousands who passed by) actually recognized and approached him, but the general public was practically oblivious to him.

    Unfortunately in our society sometimes the shocking and flamboyant, outshines real talent.