Creativity fuels the world. Whether it’s in music, film, or art, the minds of people can make the world a better place. In Los Angeles, we’ve been able to witness the growing culture that is “street art,” which some look at as glorified graffiti.
One of the most famous street artists, “Banksy,” is apparently in town from the UK and is making his presence known by leaving his mark all over the city.
While Banksy’s identity is unconfirmed, his work is recognizable. Last year’s Sundance Film Festival debuted a documentary entitled Exit Through The Gift Shop, which follows the story of street artists, and eventually turns one artist (Banksy) into a documentarian and the documentarian (Thierry Guetta, A.K.A. “Mr. Brainwash“) into a street artist, and poses the question, “what is art?”
Exit Through The Gift Shop (trailer)
Fast forward a year as Academy Award nominations are announced – Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop is nominated for Best Documentary, and people start to wonder if the elusive Banksy will get on stage in the event of a win, or better yet, even show up at all. Would someone so anonymous spoil the mystery by publicly accepting an award? Of course not! Well, not as himself anyway! Banksy has been know to give interviews wearing a monkey mask, and this made the uppity Academy a bit nervous. Would a whole stage of monkey-mask-wearing men all show up on stage claiming they’re Banksy in order for him to participate and still remain anonymous? The Academy would have no such shenanigans, and have banned Banksy from accepting the award if that is to be the outcome.
I am fascinated by street art and have been moderately following the trend in LA since seeing Exit Through The Gift Shop last year at Sundance, and have started to recognize various artists’ work. When I noticed the wall on La Brea (pictured above) dedicated to Banksy’s Oscar nomination, I started keeping an eye out for new Banksy pieces, and this week, they started arriving.
The Light Group’s billboard had been graffiti-bombed by Banksy, and I happened upon it, by accident, while en route to his other pieces. The billboard depicts Mickey and Minnie Mouse type characters drinking, smoking, and groping a scantily clad woman. It didn’t last long before it was taken down, and ownership of the now high-valued art piece was in question. TMZ even captured a near fist-fight on tape.
The added bit of dark humor that Banksy’s known for comes from the fact that this abandoned building had previously been the scene of a fire, and is still charred and boarded up. This piece has since been covered, uncovered, and now carved out of the wall and supposedly listed on ebay. The validity of the auction has yet to be proven.
A great local street art blog, MELROSE & FAIRFAX has been following all things Banksy lately, and has the latest updates on all of his art pieces around town.
Banksy’s “Crayola Shooter” and “Pissing Dog” pieces have both been left untouched thus far, but that may not be the case for much longer.
For those still wondering where they’ve heard the name “Banksy” before, but are unfamiliar with his street art, he was the mastermind behind the controversial Simpson’s intro, which depicts slave labor, amongst other things. You can check out the Simpson’s intro below, and you can find Exit Through The Gift Shop on BluRay, DVD, and also on Netflix’s “watch instantly” option. It’s well worth your time!
Banksy’s Simpson’s Intro
Banksy’s statement regarding the Oscar nomination is as follows:
[pullquote quote="I don't agree with the concept of award ceremonies."]“This is a big surprise. I don’t agree with the concept of award ceremonies, but I’m prepared to make an exception for the ones I’m nominated for. The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me.”
I’m making sure to tune into the Oscars on Feb. 27th, and am crossing my fingers for a win for Banksy and company.