The most wide-ranging and up-to-date volume available on the enigmatic and controversial graffiti artist, this deeply researched and highly personal tribute explores how Banksy continues to defy accepted wisdom about artistic success, growing only more famous and powerful even as he sticks to his anti-establishment platform and to his mission to give a voice to the voiceless.
Accompanied by stunning full-page, full-color reproductions and photographs of works in situ—including many that have been lost to time—photographer and street art expert Alessandra Mattanza’s impassioned and informed text follows Banksy’s career trajectory from creator of message-laden stencils on London’s city walls to a sought-after champion of human and environmental rights. She investigates many of the key images that populate Banksy’s work—animals, children, historic figures, balloons, cartoon characters, police officers, and others. She shows how Banksy’s oeuvre has expanded beyond graffiti and stenciling and how his art has helped support his activism in a variety of causes—from calls for peace in the Middle East to the preservation of the natural environment. Readers will come away with a new understanding of how Banksy helped transform an illegal act of criminal damage into a high art form, and how, by ridiculing institutionalized art, he has achieved enormous fame within those very institutions.