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Banksy? Meh! There are so many better street artists than Banksy. To me he’s just a graphic designer with an eye for marketing. Pseudo-intelligent Sixth-Form sloganeering if you ask me. I’m not ANTI Banksy, he’s an above average graff artist. But the amount of misappropriated depth applied to his work by those who know little more about the form than Banksy’s own work irks.

Artists like Futura, Blu D-Face, Osgemeos, Cisma, Kami, PixelPhil, Plug, Invader and countless more have been making the work Banksy’s is based on for years before he hit the big time. The only difference was that Banksy added a (clumsy) ironic political slant to their pieces and reapplied them as his own.

I’m not accusing him of plagiarism here. The form has always reused it’s components and developed them. Take DLux’s stencil piece (left), same shit, different city.  What I am saying is that if you remove the brutal 6th form politics student slogans from his work, it’s all been done before by people who did it for the love of, not the fame. More pertinently, check french artist Blek Le Rat‘s work below. These pieces are from 1983-84, WAY before Banksy even knew what photoshop was. He stenciled political pieces in Belfast in the height of the troubles. He invented everything Banksy (the nouveau version) is.

For socio-political satire in street art and I’d much rather view the work of Brek Le Rat or  manhattan’s Swoon ( For the form iteslf I’d always rather see Futura 2000 or Boris Tellegen ( And for sheer creative lunacy, effort, craft and love I could watch Blu’s work all day. The Blu piece in the video above is INSANE. That shit transcends the form, takes it to whole new place, level and audience. And it uses derelict places, finding beauty in destruction.

Good luck Banksy. But people should realise there’s more to street art than a child with a bomb, rain under an umbrella, a caveman with fastfood or any other postcard juxtaposition he botches together in an oh so ironic way.

For the record, in 1998, some 15 years AFTER Brek Le Rat’s stenciling work began the below is what (Robin) Banksy was painting. Just below that is an interview he gave for Dirty Graphics & Strange Characters book the same year.

I actually spoke to Banksy several times during this period and have to say, he was a thoroughly nice, charming and very likable man. In fact, I gave him his first London showspace (via Daddy G) and had several of his canvases on show for some time in the SoHo area. They were of sharks swimming in shopping centres and other “urban” alienation themed pieces.

I’m far from hating on him. He’s brought the artform into a wider audience’s view. But the (clever) marketing used to so so has put him up as the leader of the pack where in my opinion he’s far from it.

Anyway, good luck to all street artists. Including Banksy. And thanks to @Scaloni for his input.

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