Tuesday, November 5, 2013
An Open Letter to Banksy, New York~
Thank you for an absolutely amazing month. The roller coaster was spectacular. It was like the grown-up, street art equivalent of having Christmas every day. The excitement, the anticipation, and our eye-popping at the spectacles could not be matched. Like a symphony conductor, you played the masses, masterfully pulled and plucked at our heart strings. Thank you~
On a personal note, a Banksy image was the first street art that M&F ever personally witnessed on the streets. As a young teenager, someone painted the image of your copper flipping the bird in our neighborhood, and your image spoke to us and stuck with us. The image was not painted by you, but by some random Banksy fan in middle America years ago, but that doesn't change things. Basically, your street art became our first street love. And we still love you~
While running this blog, M&F has seen how Banksy's influence is as big or greater than the rest of the entire worlds of graffiti and street art combined. For what its worth, M&F would like to extend an open apology to Banksy from graffiti writers of the world and the street art community. Basically, nearly every graffiti writer that hates on Banksy is just jealous of your success, and every street artist wanting to be Banksy wants your success, but without understanding what it takes to get there. Like you say, people should not eat to shit. Instead of hating on your fame, or trying to snag a piece of it, true artists should emulate and learn from your example.
Banksy has conquered every mountain in the art world one achievement at a time. When Banksy wasn't a household name, you began painting animals (that time you painted the cow was where M&F first heard your name, and never forgot it since. To be clear, not that 'paint animals' should be the lesson learned, rather keep it fresh by doing what no one has done before and what no one expects). When graffiti was not considered fine art, you invaded the world of fine art with graffiti. When museums would not have your art, you broke the rules to put it in there anyway. And somewhere along the line, your art works began to command colossal financial success. But unlike many other artists, that was not your end game. It is so disappointing how many artists will work for years on crafting a unique and personal look or aesthetic, and then, once a deep pocketed advertiser comes along, they sell their aesthetic out for a paycheck. What is up with that? It cheapens the art because all of a sudden it not art, but just another cool advertisement for so-and-so company. Its the artistic equivalent to selling your soul. But Banksy, the biggest reason you are such a hero is that you achieved everything, and did it all without selling your artistic soul. You did it all without selling out, or compromising what got you to where you are. In fact, once you got to the absolute top of the art world, you bring it back home to basics. Back to the streets. Back to where art should be. Boom.
Yes, thank you for the entertainment, but even more so, thank you for bringing art back to its roots. In the modern world, art has lost its way, and lost touch with the people. As you pointed out, generations ago, art got taken inside in service to the institutions and the church. Now, these days, art is assessed by its value, not its content. People are told what good art is, instead of experiencing good art and being able to explain why that art is impactful to them. This has made art boring, and generally a subject that most people are uncomfortable about giving opinions on or an honest opinion about. Art, in the art world, is about fake, money driven posturing. But none of this is real art. Art doesn't matter how much it costs or what the critics say. Art happens when it influences people, and the best place to influence people is outside, on the streets. Your month long exhibition was a powerful demonstration and testament to the powers of art. Banksy, you have conquered both the streets and the auction houses. We always knew you were prophetic, but now we think that you might be a prophet. Moses set out the 10 Commandments after climbing down from the mountain. In a similar way, Banksy has climbed every mountain in the art world, and now he brings the art back to the masses. Galleries now want your art. Museums now want your art. Nearly every art establishment in the world wants your art! And you want to give the art back to the people. That is just fucking awesome. Thank you for stealing art back from the institutions, and offering it back to the people. Indeed, Better Out Than In.~
Banksy, your name is bigger than the rest of the street art world combined. You are a role model for the scene, and beyond. Throughout it all, you have continued to fight the good fight. You have become the greatest artist of this generation. You have achieved it all on your terms. All the while, you have utilized your ever-growing fame to do quiet acts of humanitarianism, while for the public at large, you are banging a loud drum for change. You might be a career vandal, but modern politicians, media giants, celebrities and other so-called 'role models' would benefit from emulating you as a model.
Banksy, you are King of the Graffiti World, King of the Art World, and our best hope for shaking things up on the streets in the future. Thank you for being the only hero worth looking up to.~