Skip to main content

The Secret of Banksy's Identity

Ask any passerby for one graffiti artist and chances are he or she will mention Banksy. The satirical works of this anonymous artist are world famous, but why?

In this blogpost we try to discover why his works appeal to the imagination. But let's start at the beginning: who is Banksy actually?

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

It is not clear who Banksy is exactly. We know he is from Bristol and according to author Tristan Manco he trained as a butcher. In the late eighties he became active in the graffiti scene, which maintained close ties with other artists.

It was not long before Banksy conquered other cities in Britain with its graffiti and street-art artwork. His murals have also been found in Spain, Italy, the US, Palestine, Mali and Australia.

In the movie Exit Through The Gift Shop he is followed in the run-up to an exhibition in Los Angeles, but the viewer doesn't know who Banksy really is. Some film critics even think that the entire documentary was made to create confusion about Banksy's identity. Whether or not that's true, we still don't know who's behind the pseudonym Banksy lurks.

Rage the Flower Thrower

Rage the Flower Thrower

Why Banksy's street art is so popular

Let's wrap it up: Part of Banksy's popularity is, of course, devoted to the mystery of his identity. We are curious creatures, but of course that does not fully explain his celebrity.

His stairs against holy houses, the quality of being street-art stencils and the fact that celebrities like Cristina Angelina and 'Brangelina' have bought his works, of course, also add to his fame.

Where other graffiti artists choose to promote themselves, let Banksy his art speak for itself. Perhaps more artists should follow this strategy. In any case, it turns out to work fine for Banksy!

The biggest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules.

Some examples of Banksy's work

Some photos of street art works made by Banksy.

Is Banksy the best street art artist?

Because of the originality of his works in combination with the (sometimes daring) locations and the media hype created, Banksy is in our opinion the most famous street art artist.

However, there is a big difference between the most famous and the best street art, which is also linked to taste. There are many worldwide today graffiti and street art artists who create original, daring, unique and technically very difficult works of art.

Curious about the needs of a graffiti artist? Read more about the toolkit of a graffiti artist.

Would you like to learn how to make graffiti or street art yourself?

Does graffiti and street art appeal to you and do you want to participate in a street art workshop, alone or with a friend? Then sign up for our workshops for private individuals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerp and learn the basics of spraying graffiti.

You can also gain inspiration during the many street art tours that are rich in the Netherlands and Belgium. Don't feel like going out? Then our 'Online tutorial: making graffiti yourself' is something for you. This one graffiti tutorial consists of 4 episodes and the exercises increase in difficulty per episode.

Contact Us