Written by Peter Dean Rickards – † 2014
You may not have heard of him, but you’ve probably seen his work. From policemen with smiley faces to the Pulp Fiction killers firing bananas, Banksy’s subversive images are daubed on walls everywhere – and now he’s putting on an exhibition. Banksy is Britain’s moest celebrated graffiti artist, but anonymity is vital to him because graffiti is illegal. The day he goes public is the day the graffiti ends.
The art to it is not getting picked up for it, and that’s the biggest buzz at the end of the days because you could stick all my SHIT in the Tate Modern and have an opening with Tony Blair and Kate Moss on Rollerblades handing out vol-au-vents and it wouldn’t be as exciting.
But does he consider himself to be an “ARTIST”?
I don’t know. We were talking about this the other day. I’m using the word vandalism a lot with the show. You know what hip-hop has done with the word “nigger” – I’m trying to do that with the word vandalism, bring it back. ./The Guardian / 7/17/03 – site
What about all that “I’m mister Anti-corporate” stuff?
Banky’s attitude to brands is ambivalent – like Naomi Klein, he opposes corporate branding and has become his own brand in the process… Over the past couple of years the very brands he despises have approached him to to advertising campaigns for them. Is there work he would turn down on principle? “Yeah, I’ve turned down for Nike job now. Every new campaign they email me to ask me to do something about it. I haven’t done any of those jobs. The list of jobs I haven’t done now is so much bigger than the list of jobs I have done. It’s like a reverse CV, kinda weird. Nike have offered me mad money for doing stuff “What’s mad money? “A lot of money!” he says bashfully. Why did he turn it down? Because I don’t need the money and I don’t like children working their fingers to the bone for nothing. I like that Jermey Hardy Lin: “My 11-year-old daughter asked me for a pair of trainers the other day. I said. “Well, you’re 11, make ’em yourself: I want to avoid that shit of at all possible. “Something to spray”. /The Guardian / 7/17/03 – site
Banksy does, however, also do paid work for corporations like PUMA.. As well as demanding up to £25.000 for canvasses. /WikiPedia
Banksy’s rats and bunnies
Banksy’s rats and bunnies in Jamaica
But Banksy is a redneck from Shoreditch (UK) so why would he be stenciling his little rats all over Jamaica?
“2004-07-15” Throughout January and February 2004, Wall of Sound’s Mark Jones and Gee Street founder, Jon Baker have been ferrying the world’s leading electronic producers out to the Blue Mountain’s best-kept secret, Gee Jam studios. Here, each producer has brought his own unique production style into the studio to pair with some of Jamaica’s most talented dancehall, ska & reggae vocalists and musicians. The project entitled ‘Two Culture Clash’ aims to highlight the close link between dancehall and electronic music. The album is currently in its finishing stages, due for release early summer 2004. A full DVD documentary on the making of the album is being directed by Rick Elgood (Dancehall Queen/ One Love). The artwork and design will be by graffiti iconoclast, Banksy. Photography by Peter Dean Rickards.
“I tell you what, though, on the last day on the way back to the airport, Banksy hooked up with Buja Banton (reggae artist) and we were in his studio. He’s the nicest fella and he just filled my fist with weed and said: ‘Here, this is for you and Banksy. Cafe Website / March 2nd, 2004
Banksy’s ‘stencils’ Buju Banton’s Studio Wall
Now, where did we see that wall again?
Prominent Jamaican reggae artist Buja Banton faces travel restrictions in the UK and the USA for minor ganja convictions.
Rastafarian entertainer Buju Banton will be banned from entering Britain following his conviction last month for possession and cultivation of Marijuana. A home Office spokesman told New Nation: “Where it is established that a person has been convicted of an offense outside of the UK, which would have punishable with 12 months imprisonment or more, that person would usually be refused entry; unless admission is justified for strong compassion ate reasons. The maximum sentence for cultivating marijuana in the UK is 14 years in prison. Jamaican Magistrates convicted Buju, 30, after a price raid on his studio complex in December, which uncovered a single marijuana plant. And although he was only punished wit a fine of £800 or 60 days in prison, the sentence means that Buju, real name, Mark Myrie, is likely to be refused entry to Britain. He has already been banned from America, where he has a number of forthcoming tour dates.
While prominent Shoreditch “artist” Banksy is permitted to fuck up property around the world.. including property in Jamaica because he’s too HARDCORE to show his face…
All this makes Banksy a “cultural gangster” at large. And crime seems to be paying. Banksy’s numerous products are selling. The pop band Blur asked him to do the cover of their recently album “Think Tank” You can buy Banksy’s posters at Selfridges department store. Pop stars and nicht club owners are clamoring to commission him. Banky’s brand can be found on t-shirts. His canvases are selling up to £10.000 a piece. And as demand is hight, it’s only a matter of time before prices follow.
What does Banksy think of photographers like me?
I know TONS of photographers … I do real pictures.
So… what in the world would make such a notoriously camera-shy (and wanted) ‘Art Criminal’ so careless as to allow himself to be photographed.. in Jamaica no less.
Although we here at the Afflicted Yard feel that it’s probably pretty evil (and really bad PR) for a shoe corporation to ‘pay’ children 60 cents a day to glue together sneakers in the third world; we also feel that there is no reason why WE shouldn’t take money from such corporations when give the chance. After all, this site is operated from the THIRLD WORLD isn’t it? And even thought we aren’t technically children; or in the business of manufacturing turf war trainers; we still get PAID like a bunch of malnourished waifs every time we agree to run around Jamaica snapping pictures for some foreign corporate cheeseballs who who want ‘edgy yard images’ to promote their product or service.
But nobody is complaining about ‘evil corporation’ here. We know what a corporation is and there’s nobody around here but us capitalist anyway.
What we object to, on the other hand, are people like Banksy who go around spewing psuedo-humanitarian bullshit to explain their ‘art’. To people like us, it’s insulting and pretty transparant. Especially when we’ve met the motherfucker face-to-face and discovered within the space of a minute that he was just some wannebe-punk ‘stecillist’ with his head stuck incredibly far up his own redneck ass.
That, in a nutshell is the reason we decided to run this article.
- NOT because Banksy is every bit as capitalist as we are …
- NOT because he works from photocopies of ‘real pictures’ …
- NOT because he’s too much of a pussy to protect having his pictures taken once he found himself in Kingston, Jamaica—nowhere NEAR the nice, safe media offices of Shoreditch and Soho that he’s accustomed to..
- NOT because he called us up threatening to ‘make it very difficult’ for us to sell our work in UK when these photographs first appeared on the internet…
- NOT because he thinks using the word ‘nigger’ in interviews is cute…
- NOT because he sought out tags by L.A. Lewis so that he could throw his lame little stenciled signature beside them…
- BUT because he’s an asshole and full of SHIT
So, let this be a lesson to all you arrogant ‘media-type’ fassyholes who periodically drop into Jamaica from time to time with your giant superiority complexes and your boring little ideas: us third world niggers have computers and cameras now; so you’d be well advised to ACT like a guest when you come here to drink out of coconuts or you may just find yourself treated like so many Jamaicans who visit your country— like a sneaky little CRIMINAL!