Biblography

Well, here we are. I never actually made it this far last year because I didn’t finish my posts, but now here I am and it feels good. Also, happy birthday to me!

Here is everything I used over the course of this project:

Wikipedia article: The general wikipedia article for Banksy. This includes a general overview of his career, information on the possibility of his identity, notable artworks, technique, social and political themes, and his critics.

Banksy’s Webpage: Banksy’s website, includes photostreams of public arts, photostream of sketches and drawings, information about films Banksy has produced and directed, and Q+A.

Wikipedia article (Graffiti): General information on various types of graffiti, legality, etc.

Exit Through the Gift Shop: Film directed by Banksy, discusses works both public and private by Banksy and other street artists.

/r/graffiti: Subreddit about graffiti, less focused on art and more on ‘tagging’ (the act of painting your name or graffiti handle in public spaces. Interview source.

/r/streetart: More general subreddit of other types of street art such as stencil art, wheat paste, and 3D installations.

 

Art installation featured in ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, piece built by ‘Mr. Brainwash.’

Learning Center, Speech, Document of Learning, Night of the Notables Reflection?

My learning center was left to a very short amount of time because I’m dumb. As was my speech, as was most of my eminent project. That said however, I feel that with some help from my wonderful parents, I got everything done in time for the night, and despite my not being there, I heard everything went pretty well. So without further ado, here is the learning center construction!

My plan with my learning center was to get a locker bay and create a ‘back alley’ that Banksy had graffitied. I wanted to have the impression that it was Banksy’s final piece, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t any old piece.Via StencilRevolution

For the text itself, I took a look at all of Banksy’s art that I could find, and eventually settled on a very simple piece of text he originally painted in Central London. It might leave some headscratching (isn’t graffiti illegal?) but in this work he is implying that graffiti is illegal, and thus does change things.

I also wanted to recreate the rat, a trademark image that is seemingly everpresent in Banksy’s art (it’s even in that one above), so that was another large component of what I wanted in my centre.

Another component of Eminent night I needed to produce was my speech. Because of my Metfest performance I wasn’t able to be at the night itself, so a lot of preparation had to go into my speech. I didn’t want to record it as a video, because Banksy isn’t much for being filmed anymore (after the catastrophe that was his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop), so instead I opted for just audio. That left, however, whatever it was the audience was going to see while my speech played. Rather than a projection, I hired an actual person for a live performance. Emma M, a morning nine and my savior, accepted my request to be my actress, playing the role of Banksy, and I got to work on her props.

The idea of my speech was that Banksy was talking while working on his final piece. He was sick and tired of people trying to identify him, and so he is doing it for them in his final work. Here is the speech.

The next thing I made was the work of art ‘Banksy’ was creating as he spoke, which was a large banner. The intent of this was so that Banksy could identify himself and effectively burn himself as an anonymous artist, so he could move on. However, he is interrupted. My plan for this work of art was a large banner made to look like a regular wall like that of my learning center, that Emma would ‘spray paint’ as she spoke.

I first got the large piece of asphalt paper, and then added some mock brick work in white pastel. Then, I painstakingly cut out large stencils out of paper for every letter I was going to paint. After taping these onto my piece of paper, I needed to spray paint. Bare in mind this was approximately at 12:30 AM. I needed a large space with good ventilation, but it was very dark outside and my garage is not ideal for this sort of thing. So I did what anyone would do, I dressed in black and laid some tarps in my driveway, and channeled my inner Banksy, spray painting in the pitch black.

So here are some pictures of it, for those of you get that tingly feeling in your skull when something is oddly satisfying, you’ll like stencil before and after pictures.

Wax on…

 

 

Wax off!

This went on stage, and although I heard there was some difficulty with what I had set up, it ended up working in the end.

Overall, I believe that my Eminent 2014 project went quite well, all considered! I leave you with one final image, post-spray-paint-misadventure, with my dad and I, a real pair of criminals.

 

I actually got an interview!

If you recall from last year, my interview requests crashed, burned, asked me to tell their wives they loved her, and then convulsed wildly until their vital signs were zero. I believe this was because I was overly optimistic about securing an interview with my person himself and so did a pretty half-hearted job of seeking interviews from anyone else. In short, I was fishing with a line instead of a net.

This year however, my interview request was fired out to a potential audience of almost 60, 000 people, all who are knowledgeable or at least interested in graffiti. Where did I find such an audience?

graffiti

 

Reddit!

Now, last time I used reddit for a TALONS project, it was for in-depth to find a mentor. It failed miserably – but no worries! This years reddit request required much less commitment from another user, and with just one post:

graffiti2

The post received mild success and I actually ended up getting three offers for interviews. I fired off questions to all of them yesterday, and so far have gotten one set of answers back. I also tailored some of the questions based on the information they gave me. The first person is a graffiti artist themselves, who declined to be identified. My questions and their answers are below:

1. As a street artist, what do you think is the difference between ‘street’ art and more conventional art?

The main difference between street art and conventional art is obviously the venue. If it’s not in the streets, it’s not street art. Another difference is motivation. While fame/infamy is certainly part of it, street art mainly focuses on sharing your art with the world. Some people try to make money off of it, but it’s based in the idea of giving your art to the world with no expectations of profit or recognition.

2. What is your opinion on the illegality of street art and graffiti?

Marking property that isn’t yours is a crime. There is absolutely no question about it. But think about how many billboard you see a day. Did you ever agree to let Coca Cola plaster your city with their logos? If companies are going to put up their ugly advertisements (some of which are actually illegal) then I’m going put up my art.

3. Is the process of becoming eminent as a graffiti artist different than with conventional art?

Most graffiti artists remain anonymous for their own safety. With a few exceptions, few graffiti artists are going to give TV interviews about their work. Fame/infamy can certainly be achieved in graffiti, but you’re known for your work and whatever name you choose for yourself. In conventional art, celebrity can certainly be achieved. You can look at a picture of Andy Warhol and know who it is but you’re not going to find any art depicting Katsu.

4. Are you anonymous to everyone as a street artist? Why do you think that being anonymous is something so many artists do?

Anonymity is for security first and foremost. Graffiti is illegal and broadcasting that to the world can get you in a lot of trouble. An artist may also choose to remain anonymous to let the art speak for itself rather than making themselves the focus. My close friends and family know that I do graffiti but I don’t go around telling everyone I do it.

5. What are current trends in the street art and graffiti world? Is it expanding or shrinking?

Graffiti has always been around in some form and always will be. At its simplest, it’s writing your name or drawing a picture on a wall. There have certainly been developments (wildstyle, stencils, electronics) but it all goes back to that tag. I haven’t seen much of an increase in people doing traditional graffiti lettering but street art is certainly expanding. Not everyone is going to want to risk their life by painting in a train yard but anyone can grab a marker and some labels and make sticker. There are a lot of casual street artists who aren’t too serious about it but if you’re doing traditional graffiti, you recognize the risks you’re taking and accept that as part of your life.

6. Are there still original ideas in street art? Or have things started to be recycled?

As mentioned above, there have been developments. People are experimenting with materials other than just spray paint and markers. Things like yarn-bombing, 3D installations, and projection bombing are all pretty new and it’s cool to see what new stuff people can come up with.

I will update if or when I receive more interview answers!

 

SFU

The procrastination was strong with this post. We went to the Simon Fraser University on October thirtieth (Read, 17 days ago), and I am only now uploading it. But at any rate, here it is!

15489089328_86e1b96d29_z (1)

 

I headed off into this trip with a goal of finding more about the art form that my eminent person, Banksy, works in, which is of course Graffiti. There are a few books about him, but none that were available at the SFU library, so I was looking for more general reference information on graffiti, different styles, and in what ways Banksy is different.

There were a few photos taken that were relevant to this cause, but for the most part i retained what I read, I only wish I had taken photos of what I saw in one of the large reference books on graffiti.

Over the course of the trip I learnt about the graffiti styles from around the world, especially in France, which is where a large reference book I read was based around. These graffiti art pieces were often simpler than a lot of graffiti art that you may associate with the word. For example, it depicted a few pieces of ‘situational graffiti’ which were when art was based around something existing in the environment, for instance, two holes that were drilled into a stucco wall for no discernable reason, and an anonymous graffiti artist designed a basic face around this. This simple piece of art was believed to be at least seventy-five years old. The book was a photographic chronology of graffiti in Paris, and covered simplistic pieces such as the situational graffiti described above, to more modern day stencil art and ‘tagging’.

15055134193_199e517211_kI wasn’t supposed to be in this picture.

For me, the theme of this trip was blending in. On this trip, I felt deeply out of place, a group of over fifty teenagers in a university is like several teenage bulls in a very quiet china shop. We were noisy and took a lot of selfies (see above), and together I think we really did not fit into the environment of SFU. However, as we broke up I began to feel more in place. I like to think I look slightly older than I am, but I do not look like a university student, first year or otherwise. At any rate, as the group temporarily dissolved, I felt a lot less like a huge awkward group of people and more like integrated members of the community that SFU has created. I felt more productive and generally more comfortable when I was alone there.

From this trip, I think I can use my greater understanding of graffiti art to really appreciate what Banksy does and better understand him for when I go to write my speech. I enjoyed my day as a freshman, but honestly I don’t think that life is for me, at least not yet.

Eminent Person 2014 Intro Post – Banksy

I set into my Eminent Person 2014 project with a goal in mind, and that was to do this year with passion, ideally a lot more of that than last years. So for this reason, I’ve chosen someone who I frankly care a lot more about than my Eminent person last year – Jimmy Wong.

My Eminent person this year has one little twist, and that’s that no one actually knows he is.

Banksy, my eminent person this year, is a world famous graffiti artist operating in England. He is however, completely anonymous and despite his blatant displays of work on public walls and other spaces that have large regular traffic, has never been caught. Banksy is known for his contempt of government labeling graffiti as vandalism, and his work primarily involves satirical works on government, poverty, and social justice.

There is only a little information available about Banksy, most of it from the book Banksy’s Bristol: Home Sweet Home. According to the book, Banksy is a male born in 1974, he was born and raised in Bristol, and was the son of a photocopier technician. He was trained as a butcher, but became involved with graffiti during the ‘Great Bristol Aeresol Boom of the 1980’s’.

Bansky has never sold his work, although many auctioneers have sold the graffiti works to buyers, with some ‘pieces’ selling for as high as £30, 000. These deals are under questionable legality and the actual removal of the work before it is covered up or washed off by city workers is left to the buyer. To me, this shows Banksy is not interested in money, as he could easily be making a lot of bank (haha) off of these pieces, but chooses not to. I believe he is far more invested in the cause of spreading awareness of the issues he paints about than in the fame or money he has the potential to accrue as a result.

I am interested in studying Banksy, because becoming as eminent as he has without ever revealing his identity shows me he has a sort of humbleness that not every person of his stature might have at this point in their career. I respect that about him and find his views on issues interesting and similar to mine.

Because there is so little information on Banksy, I can’t draw many conclusions between the two of us besides our views on the world. He has painted images talking about public display of gay affection (See police picture above), poverty, first world versus third world, and much more.

Over the next few weeks, I will be going much more in-depth into the work of Banksy. My goals for the project are to go into the idea of being both eminent and anonymous, and modern eminence in a man who is still alive.