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Banksy’s Biography and Artworks Analysis

Banksy’s Biography

Banksy is a graffiti artist popularly recognized for his anti-authoritarian art. The artist’s identity remains unknown, but he was born in Bristol, England, around 1974 (Street Art Bio, 2021). Although the artist remains anonymous, many speculations linger that his real name was Robin Gunningham. He later moved to London in 2000, the time which correlates to the spread of his artwork. His profession as a graffiti artist began in the 1990s with the DryBreadZ gang. The street artist was well known in Bristol and London for his political themes and stenciled pieces (Meewisse, 2018).

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Some of his most common subjects included police officers, children, rats, and royal family members. The piece that portrayed an elephant painted with a Victorian wallpaper pattern is among the artist’s most celebrated works that sparked controversy among human rights activists (Ellsworth-Jones, 2013). The artist’s social and political artwork bases have appeared on street walls and bridges in many parts of the world. Banksy installed his art pieces in the walls of major museums, including Tate Britain and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Exit Through the Gift Shop documentary has Banksy as the main subject, and it establishes the relationship between street art and commercial.

Banksy’s Artworks: Elements of Art and Principal of Design

Season’s Greetings is a two-sided graffiti piece appearing on two walls in Port Talbot. The city is densely populated and has a problem of pollution from the ashes from the old steel mills nearby. It has one of its sides showing a child who is tasting the falling snowflakes, and the other side reveals smoke and embers from a fire (Pownall, 2018). The artwork raises a disturbing image of the steelwork’s pollution looming over the city. Banksy creates art that needs decoding and amazes his audience when the painting is unlocked. He pays attention to playing the game of connecting the dots rather than actual art. The artist developed a unique iconography of highly recognizable images that communicate his messages.

Hammer Boy is a piece of art located on the upper west side of Manhattan. The artists had stenciled a simplified black image of a boy with a large mallet striking a red fire hydrant in front of him. The artwork is made from black paint cast against a beige wall. Its shadow draws attention to passersby since it is readily visible. He has merged graffiti art with performance and installation. Banksy uses the piece of art to motivate viewers to use urban spaces and objects freely. The element of value represented in the artwork is to remind viewers that they have the freedom to use public property.

Escaping Prisoner is another piece of art at the side of Reading Prison. The prison had been disputed locally, with some wanting it to be sold to a housing developer while others propose it be used as an arts hub. The principle of design is stenciling and spray painting. Banksy’s artwork takes the shape of multilayered stencils combined with media images (Auriemma, 2020). He often uses existing objects to turn his artwork into striking art installations.


In conclusion, Banksy is an anonymous artist whose identity remains a baffle to many. His artwork is characterized by striking images, which are mainly freehand and stenciled designed. The artist combines his pieces with slogans to critique political greed and hypocrisy satirically. Some of his famous artworks include season’s greetings, hammer boy, and escaping Prisoner. He has incorporated elements of value and space in his artwork to convey his messages.


Auriemma, R. (2020). Banksy: The best paintings and the meaning of his art. Aural crave. Web.

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Ellsworth-Jones, W. (2013). The story behind Banksy. Smithsonian Magazine. Web.

Meewisse, H. (2018). Art: An analysis of Banksy. The Find Mag. Web.

Pownall, A. (2018). Banksy paints Season’s Greetings mural on Port Talbot garage. Dezeen. Web.

Street Art Bio. (2021). Banksy Biography & Artwork | Artists. Web.

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