Sunday, March 13, 2011

Banksy’s Reflection of L.A. is truer than most

At its core, art is subversive, dangerous, anti-authority, and often times derided in the moment it is created. This was never truer than with the multi-talented street artist Banksy.

His recent splash of art that was spewed on our city is one that was probably sparked due to his directorial film debut, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and its Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary category. The film would ultimately lose out to the financial meltdown doc, "Inside Job." The images that have popped up around the city consist of a young, machine-gun-wielding boy, shooting multi-colored, chain-fed crayons in a field of rainbow colored flowers with a smiling sunshine looking on in bliss in Westwood. Also on display was a titillating Sunset Boulevard billboard. Banksy drew an inebriated and happy handed Mickey Mouse groping the billboard model, while Minnie Mouse looked on with a cocaine-infused grin.

Many people would consider his brand of expression to be a nuisance as it loosely fits into the graffiti spectrum.

He splashes provocative images on the sides of concrete buildings, asphalt overpasses, and steel trestles in a way that evokes the roots of spray paint graffiti and its birth in the urban decay in major cities and industrial areas the world over. Yet, his style brings it to a level in which one should look at his work as art of the highest caliber.

His style of guerilla warfare on the senses and sensibility of common folk has always been at the heart of his pieces and it makes perfect sense for him to push his film to win the award after its much deserved nomination. He of course did this by plastering the billboards, walls, and streets of Los Angeles with some new pieces for us, the viewers, to chew on.

This spark of a viral marketing campaign at its most basic level is exactly what the elusive and mysterious artist excels at. Banksy is his nom de plume, but his true identity is a well guarded secret.

In fact, in a recently pulled eBay listing, bids had reached the $1 million mark to get the scoop on his real identity. The auction was pulled a day before it ended and it all appeared to be an elaborate hoax created by Banksy himself. This appears to be another attempt at stirring the publicity pot in preparation for the Academy Awards.

While his style may not appeal to everyone, the merit of his work speaks for itself. His art pieces demand thousands, if not millions of dollars and his work is present in almost every contemporary art collection. His graffiti brings the mundane structures around us to life and his art is a celebration of the essence of the eternally struggling counter-culture movement.

The effort should be applauded, because when it comes to art, anything goes.

Taken from: Lavalleystar

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