Banksy Graffiti Artworks
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Banksy is without doubt the world’s most famous and celebrated graffiti artist. To some, his works of art are poignant, thought-provoking, ironic and humorous. To others, it is just plain vandalism. Whichever side of the fence you are on, there can be no doubt that he is a very talented and clever artist and conveys his views in a way that many of us could not manage to do.
We have put together some of his best arts with location.
Banksy Valentines Day Marsh Lane Piece - Bristol
It appeared on the side of a building in Barton Hill on Marsh Lane overnight on Thursday (13 February 2020), with residents discovering it on the side of a house around 6.20am.This piece features a child – potentially Cupid – which many noted is similar to previous works painted by Banksy, with a slingshot.
Escaping Prisoner - Reading Prison
Spotted in the early hours of Monday 1st March on the side of Reading prison. It shows a man dressed in a striped prisoner’s uniform scaling the side of the building on a knotted rope.Beneath the man, the chain is shown to be made of paper and coming out of a typewriter.Some have said that the man is meant to represent Irish poet Oscar Wilde, who was imprisoned at the jail from 1895 to 1897 on charges of gross indecency with other men.Following his release from the prison, Wilde wrote the poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” about a hanging that took place while he served his sentence, which could link to the typewriter.
Sneezing Woman - Bristol
Spotted by Tristan Kay, a senior lecturer at University of Bristol this piece appeared on the wall of a semi-detached house on Vale Street in Totterdown. It depicts a woman sneezing and dropping her bag.
Recently claimed by Banksy, this piece appeared on Ilkeston Road in Radford. It shows a young girl hula hooping with a bicycle wheel with the real bicycle chained to a lamp post next to the piece. A local shop owner spoke about how a blacked out van appeared at the spot on a Tuesday evening seemingly pretending to be broken down but stayed there for around 2 hours.They said the man from the van bought two Ribenas from their shop and, when they asked who the artist was, the man simply “winked”.
MIGRANT CHILD - VENICE
This appeared in Italian city’s Dorsoduro district where it was first spotted during the venice biennale 2019 art fair. The artwork portrays a migrant child wearing a lifejacket and holding a neon pink flare.
Million Pound Banksy Art Left In Shreds
Guest where left stunned at the sight of a one million pound Banksy piece shred itself just moments after being sold. The question on everyone's lips... Was Banksy there?
The Mild Mild West – Bristol
Many people believe that this piece stems from the Bristol riots back in the early 1980’s, but according to Jim Paine in the book “Home Sweet Home” that isn’t true at all. In the late 90’s in Bristol there were many free, unlicensed parties at various warehouses across the city. There was trouble at one such party at Winterstoke Road, where according to Jim “Many of the crowd that night were assaulted by police…it marked the beginning of a more hardline approach from the police, using violence as a method of breaking up parties“. The “Mild Mild West” was painted by Banksy on the side of a building in Stokes Croft, Bristol and was done over the course of 3 days in broad daylight. It remains there to this day. Mild Mild West location.
This appeared in Jerusalem in 2003 and is perhaps one of Banksy’s most well-known pieces. To many people it is a symbol of peace and hope in the face of adversity and destruction. The masked rioter is throwing not a “Molotov Cocktail” but a bunch of flowers and the image was featured heavily in Banksy’s 2005 book entitled “Wall and Piece”.
Man Hanging From Window – Bristol
(Image credit: Bristol Post)
This is perhaps one of the most famous of all Banksy pieces and shows a man hanging from a window after his clandestine affair looks set to be discovered by his mistress’s husband. With typical Banksy irony, it was daubed on the side of a sexual health clinic in Frogmore Street, although according to the clinic’s director in the book “Home Sweet Home“, when Banksy was told this by email he responded to say that hadn’t realised it was a sexual health clinic and thought it was really funny. In the last few years the graffiti was unfortunately vandalised with
The picture of a young girl hugging a bomb to her chest was one of Banksy’s original creations back in 2003, where it was reproduced on a wall in London’s East End. The piece symbolises the horror of war next to the innocence and purity of the young girl – good and evil unified and questioned as to why we inherently indulge in war and fighting when peace can be all around us. Thought-provoking stuff.
Washing Zebra Stripes – Timbuktu, Mali
A woman washing zebra stripes was painted by Banksy in the capital city of Mali, Timbuktu and shows a “naked” zebra standing by as his stripes are hung up to dry by an African lady. There appears to be little in the way of any obvious meaning to this piece. It is a playful piece, but maybe the fact that it appeared in the drought-ridden country of Mali and the absurdity of using water in such a frivolous way points to an issue that perhaps the western world could, and should, do more to help impoverished people in the developing world.
Child Soldier – Los Angeles, USA
The theme of weapons and children is a recurring one in Banksy’s pieces. This child soldier bearing a machine gun appeared in Westwood, Los Angeles in 2011 on a wall of “Urban Outfitters” although it didn’t last long before it was vandalised with paint. The piece is no doubt an attempt to highlight the corrupted innocence of children and it is not uncommon to see children brandishing guns and involved in conflicts in highly volatile parts of the world. Child Soldier location
Gangsta Rat – London
Banksy’s ‘Gangsta Rat’ character has appeared at various locations, but perhaps the most well documented ‘Gangsta Rat’ is the one in the picture here, which was first spotted at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London in 2006. The rat, who is indeed looking rather ‘gangster’ with his chain and baseball cap, was later sold at auction. Gangsta Rat location (approximate).
(Image credit: Prancing Through Life)
A rather sad-looking working class painter has painted the words ‘follow your dreams’ before having the word ‘cancelled’ stamped over in a rather striking rectangular box. This piece was originally stencilled in May 2010 on the back of the Shabu Shabu Restaurant in Chinatown, Boston. Follow Your Dreams – Cancelled location (Approximate).
Because I’m Worthless – London
(Image credit: Banksy)
Little is known about this stencil, besides the fact that it first appeared in London. The rats that are a recurring theme among the work of Banksy are said to be inspired by Blek Le Rat, a Parisian street artist who stencilled iconic images in the streets of Paris beginning in the 1980s – many of his pieces also featured similar rats.
Arguably Banksy’s most iconic piece, it appeared in South Bank, London in around 2002. The words ‘There Is Always Hope’ are written just behind a young girl, who can be seen reaching for a balloon in the shape of a heart. Intense debate has raged on over the years regarding the true meaning of this stencil, with a variety of ideas involving love, innocence and – obviously – hope.
The Thinker Monkey
The origins of this particular image are shroud in mystery, but it is thought that ‘The Thinker Monkey’ first appeared on canvas rather than on the streets. It seems that Banksy could be poking fun at humans for believing that they are the only intelligent beings, or perhaps it’s just a bit of a general laugh because you don’t see a monkey deep in thought every day!
Although this is widely believed to be a work of Banksy when it appeared outside a pub in Bristol and is supposedly one of Banksy’s most famous pieces, the ‘Panda With Guns’ is probably not a work of Banksy at all. Some people attribute it to a French artist by the name of Julien Fanton D’Andon, who purportedly produced it for a record label called ‘Bad Panda’. Whether or not this is a Banksy, the ‘Pandas with Guns” just cannot be left out of this list!
Flying Balloon Girl is perhaps one of Banksy’s most well known artworks. It was painted on a wall on the West Bank in Israel in 2005 and carries a poignant political message. Many believe that the piece signifies the children trapped by the conflict between Israelis and Palestine’s who are longing to fly away to freedom.
Don’t Forget to Eat Your Lunch and Make Some Trouble – Bristol
This iconic piece of Banksy artwork first appeared as part of an exhibit in Bristol titled ‘Banksy Versus Bristol Museum’. The original version of Don’t Forget Your Scarf Dear was displayed in an old fashioned style of frame on a sepia mount, the only pop of colour being the son’s bright red scarf. Critics state that while this is not one of Banksy’s more subversive artworks it expresses a simple ideal : that a child should be loved and accepted for what he or she is not because the fit with society’s expectations. It is unclear whether or not this is an outdoor reproduction by Banksy himself or one of many photo-shopped versions with quotes and slogans attached.
Soldiers Painting CND Sign – London
Originally painted close to the Houses of Parliament in London, the original version of Banksy’s Soldiers Painting the CND sign was confiscated for allegedly breaking laws regarding protests in this area. It has been suggested that it represents the repression of free speech as well as acting as an anti-war protest. The piece was recreated and displayed in a collection at the Tate Britain gallery in 2007.
Stop and Search (Girl and a Soldier) – Bethlehem
Girl and a Soldier is one of the 2007 pieces that Banksy put up on a wall in Bethlehem. The innocent little girl is seen frisking an armed soldier in a stark reversal of roles. This along with other images on the wall were intended to promote the annual Santa’s Ghetto exhibit. The piece is still visible although somewhat faded.Girl and a Soldier location
Umbrella Girl – New Orleans
All of the New Orleans Banksy artworks are fiercely guarded and Umbrella Girl is no different. As of early 2014 Umbrella girl has been covered with plyboard and has a guard round the clock following an attempt to cut the artwork out of the wall. Umbrella Girl location.
Think Tank (Blur Album Cover Art)
In 2005, Banksy designed the cover art for Blur’s seventh studio album ‘Think Tank’. This led many to accuse Banksy of selling out, but nevertheless it is a great example of his work. Ironically, due to a ban on all graffiti related posters by London Transport, Blur had difficulty advertising the album thanks to Banksy’s cover art!
I’m Out Of Bed Rat – Los Angeles/New York/Italy
Often people will go to extraordinary lengths to preserve a Banksy artwork and in the case of the ‘I’m Out Of Bed Rat’ this is particularly true. It was originally painted on a Stucco wall in Los Angeles in 2002, but this began to deteriorate and so it was removed in 2013 and transported to Brooklyn and then on to Italy to be restored.
Very Little Helps – London
Very Little Helps, appeared on London’s Essex Road in 2008 and features children saluting as another child runs a Tesco branded carrier bag up a flagpole. From time to time, pranksters would also add a real Tesco bag to the mural. Very Little Helps Location.
Sunflower Field Gas Mask – London
Banksy seems to be making a comment about how society views street artists like him. While the stereotypical graffiti artist is masked and hooded, some have good intentions. In this mural, the gas mask is on the sinister side, but instead of the artists face, we see a bright and sunny field of sunflowers.
Robot and Barcode – New York
Robot and Barcode is another of the pieces from Banksy’s ‘Better Out Than In’ residency in New York during October 2013. This piece was found on Day 28 in Coney Island. Robot and Barcode Location.
Banksy’s Space Girl With Bird was one of the pieces commissioned for Blur’s album Think Tank and appears on the cover of a free supplement cd sample given out with The Observer newspaper. The art work originally appeared on a wall in Chicago.
Let Them Eat Crack – New York
Banksy is well known for his use of rats and this particular example discovered in Wall street in 2008 is a great example. In a play on the famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette, he proclaims “let them eat crack” in commentary on the public outrage at how financial matters were being handled around the time. Needless to say it was soon painted over!
Love Is The Answer is often attributed to ‘Mr Brainwash’ aka Thierry Guetta who became famous through Banksy film Exit Through the Gift Shop. It is a representation of Einstein holding a placard bearing the words “love is the answer’.
Mobile Phone Lovers – Bristol
(Image credit: BBC)
Mobile Phone Lovers caused a stir when it appeared close to a boys club in Banksy’s home town of Bristol. The owner of the club removed the door with the intention of using it to raise funds for his club, but it was taken from him by the local council who claimed ownership. However the issue was resolved when Banksy himself sent a letter to the club seeming to condone his choice to use it as a fundraiser. Mobile Phone Lovers location
Waiting in Vain – New York
Banksy’s Waiting in Vain is another part of his New York residency ‘Better Our Than In’. It appeared on the roll down shutters of Larry Flint’s Hustler club and depicts a man with flowers who has apparently been stood up – perhaps by one of the dancers?. The shutter has been removed for display inside the club. Waiting in Vain Location.
Mona Lisa With Rocket Launcher – London
The Mona Lisa is perhaps the most famous painting of all time, and it is also one which is often parodied. Banksy is no exception. This re-imagining of Mona Lisa as a terrorist toting a rocket launcher appeared in London. It has been spotted in various locations, but it is unclear as to whether these are copies or if they all belong to the elusive Banksy.
“Laugh Now” first appeared in 2002 and featured a Monkey wearing a sandwich board proclaiming ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge’. There were several variations recreated on white boards and one of these sold for around $500,000 at a sale in 2008.