Banksy, Bristol’s finest, has travelled a long road to arrive at Dismaland. The elusive guerrilla street artist that started his ‘career’ on the streets of that city in South West England was often caught ‘in the act’.
Out of necessity, he developed his particular stencilled style, which allowed a swift getaway but strengthened the impact of his images. His anonymity seemed to strengthen the appeal; the early simple stencils evolved from mostly subversive statements like the “Caution concealed trapdoor in operation” – that turned up on both the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and London’s Millennium Bridge – into quite complex figurative pieces.
The famous Banksy characters were born, in part from necessity, but they actually served also to enhance the ‘street guerilla’ credentials that still remain with Banksy.
There’s the girl with the balloon
and, of course, the coppers in their various guises.
There were forays around the world.
The United States
And, notably, Gaza
Throughout his career, Banksy has stayed true to his beliefs even when works were stripped from walls to be sold for huge sums and his peers in Bristol street art accused him of selling out. It seems now that he has gravitated towards sculpture and installations that still have the acid Banksy humour, like Cinderella’s death in a road accident; her golden hair spilling down the side of the overturned pumpkin coach. She is stripped of dignity by a group of papparazzi recording the scene. We, the gawking public, join in the spectacle and become part of the artwork.
Thousands of words have been written about Dismaland, but one thing is sure. It marks an important shift in emphasis for Banksy as he is elevated to the aristocracy of the artworld. Perhaps we have seen the last of Banksy the subversive rat scuttling the streets at night. Or, perhaps not?