A legend in contemporary art circles, a maverick of graffiti art, and an envy of all street artists out there, Banksy is determined to remain completely incognito even after his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop in which he is profiled as a dark silhouette and with a disguised voice. Yes, he could be just protecting himself but I like to see it as a dedication to art – why would he want to be press-ganged in the streets where he roamed free?
The manoeuvre entirely dismisses the significance of a persona: he provides the necessary information that confirms the premise of his projects – that fame is propaganda.
He achieved the absurd rhetoric of conceptual art, reaching the level that Warhol and others set out on: an artist without human identity, in a time when we see all around us the paths to success riddled with self-promotion and public exposure.
His projects are about raising awareness on some important social and socio-political issues – what you would call social awakening.
His work seems to be everywhere but the artist himself has become as elusive as ever.
His aim, however, is not at all about fame or money.
He is pointing a finger at all those who commercialized his work and gave it mass-market appeal, while calling out the ridiculousness of a street artist who is entirely motivated by money and popularity. He jeered at the very people who buy his work at absurd fees. Of course, when there’s a demand there’s supply – so they are valued by sheer volume of requests. Hey, what about not biting the hand that feeds you?
Banksy is a concept himself, not the man behind it.