Assignment 1: Artist Reserach; Banksy – 150 MC

Banksy is an artist that knows no limits at all. He will push the boundary for any issue with his installations, and they are thought-provoking when you look at them.But yet, he has caused quite a stir in the art world, as well as the graffiti world too. Those that call themselves as “rivals” to Banksy have gone as far as to cover his pieces of work with their own, leading to his work having to be protected.
But it just isn’t other artists that are critical of his work; Jonathan Jones from the The Guardian saw his work as ‘banal daubings, just because it’s urban and outside doesn’t make it any good’ and Jack Orlik from the The Independent believed that Banksy’s celebrity status turned him ‘into a commodity to be sold to hipsters and hoorahs.’

So the reason I have chosen Banksy is because I like the way he addresses social issues in his work; he does it in an effective way. Short and sweet, but to the point in a very effective way. And I feel that for my photo’s this has to be the aim. You can’t afford to be staring at a picture for ages not knowing what is going on; you lose interest quickly and don’t value the picture.
By getting that message across quickly, it hammers home the meaning behind the picture and gets us to think what is being portrayed to us. it makes us value the picture even more.

Banksy2 [1]

Take this picture. There’s nothing to make it complex, as Banksy shows the issue at hand rather easily, but effectively. Homelessness is a big problem (either from life related problems or from the economy) and nothing is done about it. And what Banksy shows to us is that rather than it being about small things that won’t make much of a difference, there has to be change to improve the lives of some people.
And we can stop and think about this picture, because we can actually think of some that could actually benefit from this change. Those that really need it. Yet this choice is being ignored, and leaving everyone in a worse state.

Banksy1 [2]

Again, the same applies to this picture as we can relate this image to actually people we know. Those who wanted to live their dream can’t any more due to the choices of others or the choices of the real person. Again, very simple, but straight to the point.

And his work gets my mind into the viewpoint of how to build a picture: make sure that the subject is in full view, but not being obstructed by anything else at all. And then make sure that in the picture the message that is being portrayed in being done in a simple and effective way.
For example: If I was to photograph someone on the pressure of drinking do I do it with the person alone or with a group of people? Well if its with a group of people the message is somewhat portrayed in a better light, yet the scene becomes quite mixed and confusing. And on the flip side, a solo portrait keeps it all simple, but I have to work harder to portray the message “do we have a choice?” It means I have to find the fine line between both that makes the picture work so much better.

Banksy3 [3]

At the end of the day though, Banksy (such as in the above picture) just wants to highlight some of the everyday problems that happen in our lives: similar to social pressures. Its something we can relate to because there have been times where we have been in those situations.

Banksy is perhaps quite controversial with his paintings and installations. But even though he might try to cause a reaction, perhaps all he wants to do is portray a simple social message to everyone. For us to stop and think about what we are doing, and to maybe change.
Banksy has helped me with regards to how I’m going to build a picture, especially when it comes to portraying my message of “do we have a choice?” I need to make sure that it isn’t confused or mixed with anything else, or else the picture becomes something entirely different.

Perhaps this is why I like my test picture from earlier on so much.Drug test

Maybe because as it gets to the point quite quickly. We can see what is happening (Like in Banksy’s pictures) as it is staring us in the eyes. And we stop and think about it, and wonder what is going to happen. Sometimes going the simple route can be the best…

References:

[1] http://www.banksyny.com/
[2] http://www.banksyny.com/
[3] http://www.banksyny.com/

The Telegraph, Will Ellsworth-Jones; Banksy: Why his critics have got it wrong [Online from 14th October 2013] available from < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/10377611/Banksy-Why-his-critics-have-got-it-wrong.html >
Banksy Official Website [Online from November 2013] Available from <http://www.banksyny.com/>
Stencil Revolution, Banksy: The “Biography” of a Graffiti Street Art Legend [Online from October 2013] Available from <http://www.stencilrevolution.com/profiles/about-banksy/>
PolicyMic, 11 Policy Issues Banksy Has Addressed Through Art, Zak Cheney-Rice  (March 15, 2013); [Online] Available from <http://www.policymic.com/articles/29952/11-policy-issues-banksy-has-addressed-through-art>
Resources For Life, Banksy British Graffiti Artist Creates Art with a Social Message Gregory Johnson (18 November 2009); [Online] Available from <http://www.resourcesforlife.com/docs/item778>

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