In my (short!) round-up of famous Bristolians I didn't mention somebody who has been drawing crowds here all summer. This was partly because I wasn't sure how internationally well-known this anonymous graffiti artist was.
Well, the 'Banksy Homecoming' exhibition at Bristol Museum has settled that question. It has been an incredible success with over 250,000 people visiting it since June. People have been queuing for up to four hours – you can see from this photo I took early on a weekday morning here.
Who is Banksy? Nobody knows his real identity and that’s part of his appeal. He has become famous for creating strange images in odd (and often illegal) places. Here is an example from a wall in Bristol near the exhibition.
According to his Wikipedia entry Banksy creates ‘satirical pieces of art on topics such as politics, culture, and ethics’. Local councils – on whose property he often creates these ‘artworks’ - see this differently. They describe his work as vandalism.
I have big reservations about the Banksy phenomenon. Some of his work is imaginative and amusing but he also inspires thousands of kids to go out with a spray cans and paint ugly tags on public space. Perhaps they dream of one day becoming a favourite of Hollywood stars as Banksy has become.
What do you think?
drawing - attracting
vandalism - destruction of property for pleasure
tag - (in this context) identifying visual symbol or logo used by the graffiti artist
amusing - mildly funny
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