Banksy is a street (graffiti) artist from Bristol, UK, whose artwork initially appeared in public spaces throughout London, though has since been found all over the world.  Despite that his artwork is widely known, the artist is not.  Banksy carefully manages to keep his real name from the public, though many assert that his real name is Robert or Robin Banks.

Banksy creates an original form of street art, often in combination with a distinctive stenciling technique.  His imagery typically promotes an alternative view of modern politics and culture from those promoted by the media.   Some suggest that his stenciled imagery provides a voice for those living in urban environments who could not otherwise express themselves quite so articulately and that his work is something that improves the aesthetic quality of urban surroundings.  Many others, however, disagree, asserting that his artwork is simple vandalism or that his (apparently left wing) ideals are not shared by the majority of the inhabitants of the environments that he pollutes with his graffiti. As a result of the shroud of secrecy surrounding his real identity and his seemingly subversive character, Banksy has achieved something of a near-feverish cult following.

One of Banksy’s most well known pranks involved hanging one of his own paintings in London’s Tate Modern to the surprise of museum officials and visitors alike.  And, he has since done the same in the New York Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. In May 2005 Bansky’s version of primitive cave painting depicting a human figure hunting wildlife while pushing a shopping cart was found hanging in the British Museum.  On 4 August 2005, the BBC reported Banksy had painted 9 individual images on the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, including an image of a ladder up and over the wall and an image of children digging a hole through the wall.

Banksy has also published several books that contain images of his work found in various countries, as well as visuals of his canvases and exhibitions often accompanied by his own subversive and often witty writings. His first book, published in black and white, is titled, Banging Your Head against a Brick Wall.  As the mystery of just who Banksy really is continues to raise questions and awareness about the artist, his work continues to grow in popularity and respect, his unique work and original prints showing up at sold-out exhibitions around the world.