The term “street art” can mean a lot of things. To older generations, it's often viewed as vandalism for the sake of vandalism, but to younger generations it can be a powerful and poignant form of artistic expression. Anonymous artist, Banksy, has officially fallen into the latter category, with his thought-provoking work being showcased in his second permanent gallery.
The Banksy Prints gallery opened on December 1, and is hosted at the super-swanky Mondrian London hotel in the South Bank. Paintings and prints are already available for sale alongside photography by Steve Lazarides, another long-time champion in the street art scene.
Known worldwide for it’s social and political commentary, Banksy's popular pieces include The Balloon Girl and Mobile Lovers. The former is a black-and-white stencil of a young girl reaching out to a bright-red, heart-shaped balloon, while the latter shows a young couple seeming to embrace, but with the demanding light of their mobile phones capturing their individual attention.
While the intrigue of interpretation certainly plays its part, the mystery of Banksy's identity has also helped in his success. Some say he's Robin Gunningham, a former public schoolboy brought up in middle-class suburbia. Others hint at Robin Banks, another Bristolian who's name is said to have evolved into 'Banksy'. As far as we're concerned, it doesn't matter who he is, so long as he keeps doing what he's obviously so damn good at — art.