Santa’s Ghetto 03, London. December 2003

Santa’s Ghetto 2003 opened on 2 December in an abandoned store just off Carnaby Street in London. It contained work by Banksy, Jamie Hewlett, Mode 2 and 3D, among others. Described by Pictures on Walls as a “festive extravaganza of cheap art and related novelty goods from lowbrow artists and trained vandals”. The launch party attracted Damon Albarn, Alex James of Blur, and star chef Jamie Oliver.

Photos: Wembley Pairs, Flickr

Prank at Tate Britain. London, October 2003.

On 17 October, Banksy entered Tate Britain disguised as a pensioner and stuck one of his creations in a vacant slot on one of the gallery’s walls. After a few hours, the painting, “Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us”, crashed to the floor, and the stunt was discovered. In his own words:

“To actually go through the process of having a painting selected must be quite boring. It’s a lot more fun to go and put your own one up. It’s all about cutting out the middle man, or the curator in the case of the Tate. I’m kinda into the message that vandalising a painting with police tape is how a lot of people see the world these days. People don’t actually see the world with Constable’s eyes with hay and rivers any more. The amount of paranoia and fear about violent crime and paedophilia makes mine a more accurate drawing of the English landscape we actually live in.”

2003:10:17 - SA - UK - London - Tate - Police Line - Wall and piece p 169

A caption glued next to the painting read: “This new acquisition is a beautiful example of the neo post-idiotic style. Little is known about Banksy whose work is inspired by cannabis resin and daytime television.”

Turf War, London. July 2003

The show opened on 18 July and lasted for three days. Turf War displayed a great variety of genres, techniques and styles. It marked the beginning of a string of brilliant exhibitions with a periodicity of approximately two years: Turf War in 2003, Crude Oils in 2005, Barely Legal in 2006, Banksy vs Bristol Museum in 2009, etc. The London art critics called the exhibition one of the most interesting of the year.

Photos: and Benny Goh

ITV recorded this interview from the exhibitions—one of the few documented footage of a member of Team Banksy.

Paints live animals. Somerset, July 2003

Banksy went to a farm in Somerset to spraypaint live animals for his upcoming Turf War exhibition in London. Animal rights activists chained themselves to the railings surrounding the farm. “The cattle are show cattle donated by the farmer, and he was happy to lend them,” said a spokeswoman for the exhibition.

Street Art in UK. 2002 – 2003

Banksy focused on London in 2002 and 2003 but he also did a few pieces in Bristol and Brighton. The iconic work Pulp Fiction went up in 2002 on Old Street in Shoreditch, one of Banksy’s preferred areas in London. The Royal Guards in different areas in London are from the same period.

Early Banksy Originals. < 2003

Banksy is definitely best known for his street art. But, during the first years of the decade of 2000, Banksy’s canvases are starting to sell well. Here are some early originals, mostly oil and acrylic on canvas.

Early street art abroad. 2000-2003.

In the first years of the decade, besides UK & US, Banksy went to Barcelona, Berlin, Vienna, Tokyo, Paris and Israel, where he painted the first stencilled version of the iconic “Love is in the air”.