Banksy is a British graffiti artist. He is believed to be a native of Yate, South Gloucestershire, near Bristol and to have been born in 1974, but his identity is unknown.[He trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s." His artworks are often pieces of art on topics such as politics, culture, and ethics. His art has appeared in cities around the world.
Banksy does not sell photos of street graffiti. Art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder.
Banksy's first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, "the world's first street art disaster movie", made its debut at the 2010
In 2003 in an exhibition called Turf War, held in a warehouse, Banksy painted on animals. Although the RSPCA declared the conditions suitable, an animal rights activist chained herself to the railings in protest. He later moved on to producing subverted paintings; one example is Monet's Water Lily Pond, adapted to include urban detritus such as litter and a shopping trolley.
In August 2004, Banksy produced a quantity of spoof British £10 notes substituting the picture of the Queen's head with Princess Diana's head and changing the text "Bank of England" to "Banksy of England." Someone threw a large wad of these into a crowd at Notting Hill Carnival that year, which some recipients then tried to spend in local shops. A limited run of 50 signed posters containing ten uncut notes were also produced and sold by Pictures on Walls for £100 each to commemorate the death of Princess Diana. One of these sold in October 2007 at Bonhams auction house in London for £24,000.
In August 2005, Banksy, on a trip to the Palestinian territories, created nine images on Israel's highly controversial West Bank barrier. ]
Transport for London painted over Banksy's iconic image of a scene from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, with Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta clutching bananas instead of guns. Although the image was very popular, Transport for London claimed that the "graffiti" created "a general atmosphere of neglect and social decay which in turn encourages crime" and their staff are "professional cleaners not professional art critics". Banksy tagged the same site again (pictured at right). This time the actors were portrayed as holding real guns instead of bananas, but they were adorned with banana costumes. Banksy made a tribute art piece over this second Pulp Fiction piece. The tribute was for 19-year-old British graffiti artist Ozone, who was hit by an underground train in Barking, East London, along with fellow artist Wants, on 12 January 2007. The piece was of an angel wearing a bullet-proof vest, holding a skull. He also wrote a note on his website, saying: