Banksy

It was one of the most jaw-dropping pieces of news footage of 2018. An artwork sells at leading art dealers Sotheby’s for a cool £1m – then promptly self-destructs through a shredder built into the frame.

It was, of course, Girl with Balloon by British street artist Banksy – retitled in its new, shredded state, Love is in the Bin. 

Girl with Balloon was voted the UK’s best-loved work of art in 2017. Like much of the anonymous artist’s work, it first appeared graffitied on a wall in Shoreditch, east London. The 2006 gallery version featured spray paint and acrylic on canvas, mounted on a board.

Ironically, the guerrilla shredding – Banksy posted a video on his Instagram page showing the shredder being fitted into the frame, captioned ‘In case it was ever put up for auction’ – actually dramatically increased the value of the piece. It’s now estimated to be worth perhaps twice as much as it sold for. 

And it seems as if the Bristol-based artist is never out of the news – since that astonishing act of subversion last October, he’s put Port Talbot in Wales firmly on the art map with a new mural on a garage which has attracted thousands of visitors to the town.

And in the Artmarket’s beautiful new publication, Article, we introduced you to Hull’s very own Banksy – a young boy wearing a colander as a helmet, captioned ‘Draw The Raised Bridge’, which appeared on the Scott Street Bridge in January 2018 only to be whitewashed over, then saved by an outraged, artistically-inclined window cleaner.

So just who is Banksy? Depending on who you believe, he might be street artist Robin Gunningham; Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja, an artist and founding member of the band Massive Attack; or even the original YBA bad boy himself, Damien Hirst…

A few things are for sure: the Bristol-born British artist is almost certainly a man, and is definitely one of the world’s most sought-after and talked-about street artists.

He was inspired by artists such as France’s Blek Le Rat, and his own distinctive style was apparently inspired by a serial number stencilled on a rubbish truck under which he hid, early in his career, to avoid arrest for vandalism.

He has a strong political bent – his powerful social commentaries have appeared worldwide, from London to New York to the Gaza Strip. 

And his work continues to be highly collectible – as well as his one-off murals on walls, buildings and bridges, he has released prints over the last couple of decades – signed, unsigned and artist’s proofs, always in relatively small editions, and often available to just a handful of people.

That doesn't mean you can’t own your very own genuine Banksy print – but unless you’re part of the inner circle, you’ll need to do that via the secondary market – at galleries like Artmarket. Give us a call…


So just who is Banksy? Depending on who you believe, he might be street artist Robin Gunningham; Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja, an artist and founding member of the band Massive Attack; or even the original YBA bad boy himself, Damien Hirst…