Banksy is a British graffiti artist, political activist, sculptor, painter and film-maker, whose identity still remains a closely-guarded secret. Originally from Bristol, for the last 20 years his satirical and socio-political street art and publicity stunts have drawn the attention of the world's media and the public alike and he is now one of the world's most famous living artists.
Banksy is no stranger to controversy and he has exhibited his work in a wide range of different locations. His official shows include Turf War (2003) where he spray-painted cattle, (using cattle paint) drawing the unwanted attention of animal welfare groups, Crude Oils (2005) which featured a cast of over 200 live rats alongside his vandalised oils, Barely Legal (2005) which managed to attract Hollywood's A-List elite to a disused warehouse on Skid Row and featured a huge spray-painted elephant, Banksy vs. the Bristol Museum (2009) where he took over the Bristol museum (his hometown) for an entire summer, often replacing some of the works of art with his own, Dismaland (2015), where he created a dystopian theme park in a deserted lido in Weston-Super-Mare and most recently Gross Domestic Product (2019), a homeware brand which was unveiled at a disused shop window in Croydon.
When it comes to attracting public attention, Banksy has managed to surpass all of his contemporaries. Placing a dummy dressed as a Guantanamo Bay prisoner in a rollercoaster ride, spray-painting images on the wall at the West Bank, and exhibiting his work in The Tate and The Louvre, where he strategically placed his work uninvited on the walls of the galleries for the public to enjoy.
Not surprisingly, his growing fame and increasing notoriety has meant increasing demand for his original works and editioned prints which have resulted in significant rises and strong prices achieved on the secondary market and through the major auction houses.
His previous auction record was smashed in October 2019, with the sale of Devolved Parliament, a vast canvas measuring 276cm(h) x 446cm(w) when framed, depicting members of the House of Commons as chimpanzees which sold for £9.9m - nine times the artist's previous auction record. During 2020, the art market has seen unprecedented rises in the prices of the artist's limited edition screen prints, with his iconic Girl with Balloon and Love is in the Air images on an ever increasing trajectory with a purple Girl with Balloon AP becoming the first Banksy print to achieve over $1m at auction last year.
2021 promises to be another spectacular year for the artist as an increasing number of new buyers, looking to invest in alternative markets and add work by the artist to their growing collections.