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Is Banksy’s Work Art or Vandalism?

The graffiti artist known only as Banksy has recently painted a new mural on the side of a pub in Liverpool.

According to BBC News, the pub that was on sale for around £495,000 could now double in cost to around £1 million.

Liverpool Pub

Courtesy of BBC -

The new painting depicts a rat toting a gun, and has appeared on the side of the derelict Whitehouse pub in Liverpool.

However, while the painter is heralded as an artistic mastermind by some, others see him as no more than an anarchic vandal.

Works Of Art

Banksy is most famous for his satirical graffiti murals that cover topics such as ethics, politics and culture.

His paintings have sold for thousands of pounds, with the piece ‘Space Girl and Bird’ reaching 20 times its estimated value at £288,000 in 2007.

His admirers are strong in their praise, with BT’s press office describing his work on one of their phoneboxes as “a stunning visual comment on BT’s transformation from an old fashioned telecommunications company into a modern communications services provider”.

Celebrities such as Jude Law, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are admirers of his work, and artist Damien Hirst owns several of his paintings. Speaking to The Guardian he said “I’ve always thought he was great. The streets are boring. So I think anyone like Banksy who makes it entertaining and treats people like people instead of consumers is brilliant”.

In May 2007 he won the award for ‘Art’s Greatest Living Briton’ in celebration of his work: although he did not attend in order to keep his anonimity intact.

Crime and Vandalism

There are many that see Banksy as no more than a vandal, defacing buildings and causing controversy wherever he goes.

Throughout the years, councils around the country have been faced with the debate over whether to keep or cover his work.

Westminster City Council has become the latest to make the decision to remove one of his artworks, ‘One Nation Under CCTV’.

Deputy leader Robert Davis has said “I take the view that this is graffiti and if you condone this then what is the difference between this and all the other graffiti you see sprawled across the city”.


He is echoing the view of many of the artists critics, who see his work as audacious stunts. The Times Visual Arts reporter, Mathew Collings has said that Banksy’s work is “a status symbol – the work has no value as art”.

The works themselves have always sparked controversy, with one of his more famous works in Soho depicting two Policemen kissing, and many of his works using rats as the focal point.

The artist himself is elusive, with many theories surrounding his identity but nothing confirmed for certain. Any interviews that have been given cannot be verified, however he is quoted as saying “people say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish…but that’s only if it’s done properly”.

For a background on Banksy, Click Here

Kirstie Nicols


November 7, 2008 - Posted by | Kirstie - Lifestyle | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] For an article on the street artist, Click Here […]

    Pingback by Banksy: A Background « Don’t Know? | November 8, 2008 | Reply

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