Santa’s Ghetto 03. London, December 2003.

Santa’s Ghetto 2003 opened on December 2 in an abandoned store just off Carnaby Street in London. 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 and Alex James of Blur,  and star chef Jamie Oliver.

Photos: Wembley Pairs, Flickr

Prank at Tate Britain. London, October 2003.

On October 17, Banksy entered Tate Britain disguised as a pensioner and stuck one of his own 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.

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

“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.”

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.

Opened on July 18 and lasted for three days. Turf War is Banksy’s first major exhibition where he displays a great variety of different techniques and styles. Marks the beginning of a string of brilliant exhibitions with a periodicity of approximately two years. Turf War in 2003, Crude Oils, 2005, Barely Legal, 2006, Banksy vs Bristol Museum 2009, etc. The live cows and sheep are transported from the Somerset farm. There is also a section of “modified oils”, the most prominent being “Suicide bombers just need a hug”. The London art critics call the exhibitions one of the most interesting of the year.

Photos: and Benny Goh

Paints live animals. Somerset, July 2003

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

Street Art in UK. 2002 – 2003

Banksy’s focus is still in London with a few a pieces appearing in Bristol and in Brighton.     The iconic piece Pulp Fiction goes 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. Fairly soon the prices hit six figures when the initial collectors sell them at Christies, Sotheby’s and Bonhams. Here are a selection of early originals, mostly oil and acrylic on canvas.

Semipermanent. Sidney, 2003

Semipermanent is an annual art festival held in Sydney, Australia. Banksy participated with a 12 meter panel. Melbourne’s Burn Crew,  Dmote of Australia, 123Klan of France and Shepard Fairey also participated.

Photos: Gary Trinh and Semi Permanent