Banksy’s former agent and official photographer released his much-anticipated book in December 2019. “Banksy Captured” comes with plenty of previously unpublished photographs of Banksy and some amusing anecdotes from different street art adventures. It certainly is a must-read for any person interested in the early days of British street art.
Steve Lazarides is interviewed in an upcoming documentary, “Banksy and the rise of outlaw art,” to be released in February 2020. The film features, among others, street art legend and “Pictures on Walls” printer Ben Eine. Click for the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az9ttLyQe9E
By the way, Banksy’s unaltered voice at the beginning of the above-mentioned trailer is strikingly similar to the voice of the person presented as Banksy in an interview done at the Turf War exhibition in July 2003. Reporter Haig Gordon did the interview for ITV, but the footage was reported to have been forgotten in the ITV archive for 16 years until it surfaced in 2019:
This line of thought in the “Who is Banksy?” mystery is supported by some of the photographs in Lazarides’ new book, especially one on page 154 depicting Banksy consistent with the alleged Banksy in the resuscitated ITV interview. Whether this person is “one of the Banksys” or “the Banksy” will never be known. The puzzle is part of the overall artistic expression, in which we all play a role.
The T-shirts are only available for sale at an event in Bristol on 12 December. All of the proceeds go to four different homeless charities.
Banksy has collaborated with a number of NGOs during the years. One of them is, of course, the @lovewelcomes project, which among other things, made the coveted “Welcome Mat”, sold at the Gross Domestic Product.
The new mural is a bittersweet Christmas greeting featuring Ryan, a homeless person, being drawn away by two reindeers. The piece appeared in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter last Friday, the 6 December, and was confirmed on Banksy’s Instagram a few days later with a half minute long video.
According to an article published in The Guardian on 10 December:
“A commuter who happened to pass by on her way to work on Friday morning claims she saw a man setting up close to the wall. She said: “It was around 7 o’clock on Friday morning when I got off the bus and saw a man giving a few snacks to a homeless man who was sitting on the bench. I wouldn’t have thought it was Banksy, I just thought it was someone helping out the homeless.”
Martin Clarke, a jeweller at Vault 88, claims to have seen two workmen early on Friday morning working on the wall which is directly outside his shop. “I saw a small tent with a couple of lads in high-vis vests early in the morning on Friday. I thought they were from the council and were just doing a bit of upkeep. About half six I looked out the window and the tent had gone as had the lads. Then I saw it.
“I thought it was great. We weren’t sure what it was at first or who did it but we had a good idea.”
In Banksy’s own words:
“God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.”
Banksy’s handling service Pest Control Office has created one of the most efficient certification systems in the art world. For some time, they have also been active in the second-hand market as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of Banksy’s certified prints and unique studio work. (This has nothing to do with street-art pieces.)
Now it seems like they are taking it to a whole new level with the announced launch of http://www.Bbay.shop. It is an interesting development for the booming secondary market in Banksy artwork, and will hopefully set a new standard for transparency in the art market.
Banksy opened his much-anticipated store on 16 October. Among the products on sale are two interesting prints, a three-frame version of “Love is in the Air,” and “Banksquiat,” an homage to Jean Michel Basquiat. These are Banksy’s first regular print releases since 2010.
In Banksy’s own words: “I’m opening a shop. It’s called Gross Domestic Product™. It sells art, homewares and disappointment.”
After a 13-minute bidding duel for “Devolved Parliament” at Sotheby’s Evening Sale, a new auction record was set for Banksy with an £8.5 million hammer price. Including the buyer’s premium, the buyer has to cough up with £9.9 million. Banksy did comment the sale a few hours later on his Instagram account:
The pop-up show opened 1 October on Church Street in Croydon, just a few miles south of London. If Dismaland was Banksy’s caricature on an amusement park, Gross Domestic Product is Banksy’s caricature on consumer society and shopping hysteria. The reason to open the store is not only artistic – there is a trademark dispute between Banksy and a greeting-cards company using the Banksy brand while selling products with Banksy motives.
According to DACS (the not-for-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation in the UK) chairman and media lawyer Mark Stephens: “… the law clearly states that if the trademark holder is not using the mark then it should be handed to someone who will.” The apparent solution: Create a merchandise range and open a shop.
In Banksy’s own words: “Everything in the store “has been created specifically to fulfill a particular trademark category under EU law”, Banksy says. “I had the legal sheet pinned up in the studio like a muse.” He adds: “John Lennon said: ‘I’m an artist, give me a tuba and I’ll get something out of it.’ I feel the same way about a trademark dispute.”
The anti-Brexit mural was originally painted in May 2017. On 25 August 2019, a massive scaffolding was raised over the mural. On 10 September, the scaffolding was taken down, and the piece of art was gone. Whether the painting had been removed from the wall, or, if it had been whitewashed, is unclear. A few days later, Banksy published his plans for the mural for the day of the Brexit: Screenshot from Banksy’s Instagram. The lone craftsman and the flag crumpled on the ground
In his own words:
“Oh. I had planned that on the day of Brexit I was going to change the piece in Dover to this.. But seems they’ve painted over it. Nevermind. I guess a big white flag says it just as well.”