Someone in the knowing once told me that Banksy is a better author than an artist. It might sound like an exaggeration, but it has some truth to it: Banksy is a brilliant writer, as can be perceived in his four official books:

  • Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall, 2001.
  • Existencilism, 2002.
  • Cut it Out, 2004.
  • Wall and Piece, 2005.

The three small black books are collectables and are hard to find in bookstores, but you can find them as e-books at https://www.scribd.com

He also wrote two lesser-known booklets in the late 90s / early 00s, under the name Robin Banks:

  • The Hardcore/Punk Guide to Christianity. Robin Banks, 1999.
    • It’s a fascinating 14,000-word critical essay from a younger Banksy on the Bible and Christianity and its effects on society and human beings in general. The deep interest in Christianity could explain many references in Banksy’s imagery, such as Toxic Mary, Christ with Shopping Bags, Silent Night, Forgive Us Our Trespassing, the Grappling Hook, and of course – the Bethlehem connection. The indie website Louisville Hardcore uploaded the text here: https://www.louisvillehardcore.com/hardcorepunk-guide-to-christianity/

  • The Calvin and Hobbes Guide to Daily Life. Robin Banks, 2001.
    • A 20-page booklet with Banksy’s comments on his favourite Calvin Hobbes comic strips. It’s very well written and has some deep observations of the human condition. It can be downloaded here:

Banksy Quotes

“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.” 

“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.” 

“All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?” 

― Banksy, Wall and Piece

“Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent, leave the house before you find something worth staying in for. ” 

“A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.”

“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.” 

“There are four basic human needs; food, sleep, sex and revenge.” 

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.” 
 Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

“There’s nothing more dangerous than someone who wants to make the world a better place.” 

“People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine.” 

  Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

“Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a fucking sharp knife to it.” 
Wall and Piece

“A lot of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves.” 
Wall and Piece

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” 

“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.” 
Wall and Piece

“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid.
You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation
at high speed with total clarity.” 
Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.” 

“Once upon a time there was a bear and a bee who lived in a wood and were the best of friends. All summer long the bee collected nectar from morning to night while the bear lay on his back basking in the long grass. When winter came the bear realised he had nothing to eat and thought to himself ‘I hope that busy little bee will share some of his honey with me.’ But the bee was nowhere to be found – he had died of a stress induced coronary disease.” 
Wall and Piece

“The human race is the most stupid and unfair kind of race. A lot of the runners don’t even get decent sneakers or clean drinking water. Some runners are born with a massive head start, every possible help along the way and still the referees seem to be on their side. It’s not surprising a lot of people have given up compeating altogether and gone to sit in the grandstand, eat junk and shout abuse. What the human race needs is a lot more streakers.” 
Cut It Out

“People either love me or they hate me, or they don’t really care.” 
Wall and Piece

“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if it’s done properly.” 

― Banksy, Wall and Piece

“A wall is a very big weapon. It’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.” 
Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

“A recent survey or North American males found 42% were overweight, 34% were critically obese and 8% ate the survey.” 

“Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint.” 
Wall and Piece

“People who enjoy waving flags don’t deserve to have one” 
Wall and Piece

“My main problem with cops is that they do what they’re told. They say ‘Sorry mate, I’m just doing my job’ all the fucking time.” 
 Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

“You owe the companies nothing. You especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.” 
 Wall and Piece

“the people who run our cities dont understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit…
the people who truly deface our neighborhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff….
any advertisement in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours, it belongs to you ,, its yours to take, rearrange and re use.Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head..” 

“I’d been painting rats for three years before someone said, ‘That’s clever. It’s an anagram of art,’ and I had to pretend I’d known that all along.” 

― Banksy, Wall and Piece

I never apologise. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way I am. – http://www.banksy.co.uk ca 2003

Just because we don’t care doesn’t mean we don’t understand – http://www.banksy.co.uk ca 2003