Banksy: The Vigilante Artist

 “Love is in the Bin” | PC: Sotheby’s on Twitter

“Love is in the Bin” | PC: Sotheby’s on Twitter

Memento Artem

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Banksy, the anonymous artist, is on a roll. From his prolific street art pieces to his major art installations of epic proportions, he’s taken the world’s attention by storm.

His most recent noteworthy “appearance” was on Oct. 5 at an auction at Sotheby’s in London where a print of the artist’s famous work entitled, “Girl with Balloon” was halfway shredded directly after the winning bid was announced.

Later Banksy released, and rapidly deleted, a video on his Instagram page showing how he placed the shredder in the frame years ago just in case the piece ever went to auction. This demonstrated his particular distaste with the art market. However, Pest Control, Banky’s agency, has since come forward and renamed the piece “Love is in the Bin.” It’s this rebelliousness that has people looking for what the faceless artist will do next.

Although he’s curated quite a reputation for going big when he strikes, he’s done amazing charity work for those in need as well. Here are a couple noteworthy good deeds Banksy has done over the years.

Saving the Broad Plain & Riverside Youth Project

In April 2014, a stencilled artwork titled, “Mobile Lovers” appeared on a board screwed into a wall near the financially-troubled Broad Plain & Riverside Youth Project. Soon after its discovery, members of the club removed the piece, placed it in a corridor and invited the public to view it. Eventually, the local police removed the piece and put it on display in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery while ownership was confirmed. Soon after, the mayor of Bristol and the club owner received letters directly from Banksy confirming that the piece’s original intention was for public display, but he would like to donate to the club for whatever purpose they needed. Later, the club sold the piece to a private collector for over £400,000, which helped secure the club’s future.

“Dismaland” for refugees

Banksy’s Dismaland, “bemusement park” was a temporary pop-up exhibition that took place for five weeks in Weston-super-Mare, UK during the Summer of 2015. The Disney-like and apocalyptic exhibition contained a diverse collection of pieces by many different artists. After its closing, Banksy released an announcement stating all the timber and fixtures from Dismaland were going to be sent to build shelters near Calais, France in a camp called, “the jungle.”

Although these are only a couple of charitable deeds Banksy has done, it gets the mind whirring. Who is this prankster and rebel? What’s his next move? The world will just have to hold out for Banksy to strike again.


Cameron Cizek is a senior studying computing.