Banksy is on his way to becoming an international icon as a graffiti master, activist, painter, filmmaker, and an all-encompassing provocateur. Banksy is a pseudonymous street artist based in England who has remained a subject of speculation since the 1990s with his satirical street art as well as subversive epigrams that combine dark humour and graffiti.
Banksy is well-known for his distinctive stencilling techniques that portray political and social commentary that adorn streets, walls, and bridges across the globe. Banksy’s work grew from the underground scene in Bristol and recently a partially destroyed painting sold for a record-setting 25.4 million US dollars, which translates to over 300 million ZAR.
Why are these artworks so expensive? And what does it mean for other artists?
There is a lot of controversy around Banksy because art dealers and property owners have torn apart walls and buildings to remove and sell Banksy’s works around the world. Not only are these artworks being removed for someone else’s financial gains, but it is also preventing the public from seeing and enjoying the artist’s work in the exact context that Banksy intended for it to be seen.
Many people profit from Banksy’s work and the reason why his work is so expensive, is attributed to the fact that Banksy is anonymous in addition to the fact that there is only one artist who does this type of work, which is what happens when demand grossly exceeds supply.
Street art is a lucrative venture for artists who have a unique and signature style and while few street artists would want their work to become a tradable commodity, it has helped many artists receive attention from larger corporate brands who want to access consumers who are interested in street art, subsequently helping many street artists build a unique brand.