101 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2005
I ordered this book on the strength of a strand on UK television about the artist. What a fabulous book. Although I'm almost of pensionable age and more likely to admire the works of Vermeer I found myself totally in tune with Banksy - and screaming with delight at some of the pieces. He can come and do my gable end any day!
87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Banksy may be the most well-known (and notorious) graffiti artist in the world, but there is a lot more to him than that. There is a strong case for arguing that he is one of the most important conceptual artists in Britain (although I sure that he would blow a big raspberry at such a pretentious claim and say that a conceptual artist is just someone who can't draw!).
Banksy's art makes some of the most 'happening' members of the Britart establishment look tame and stale and I suspect that in 100 years time, he will overshadow Damien Hirst. But if that sounds too pompous, I should add that this is one of the funniest and refreshing books I've read for a long time. It is a tribute to Banksy's genius that he can make you laugh, but also make a serious point about the society we live in. Banksy argues that it is crazy that we outlaw graffiti, but allow companies and corporations to plaster their messages all over our walls, trains and buses. I don't completely agree with this - an indecipherable graffiti 'tag' is boring and doesn't enhance a public space, whereas Banksy's pictures are witty and thought-provoking. However, it is refreshing to have an artist who genuinely challenges the status quo, rather than relying on cheap gimmicks and shock value whilst selling their art to Charles Saatchi for thousands of pounds.
This is a book that would make a good present for lots of people (my 65-year-old mother-in-law loved it) but buy one for yourself first!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2008
I have this book and absoluetly love it, it exaplains why he did it, how he did it and some of his experieces and anecdotes. The book is excellent to be able to see decent street art, but then I came across the person Bansky is inspired by. He is fairly unknown here in the UK but HE is BANKSY'S idol, he is called Blek Le Rat and he too has a book out, he is a 56 year old frenchman who has been doing the things Banksy has been doing for years longer, you can buy his book off amazon. I would say buy Banksy's book to see the British side of street art, but buy Blek Le Rat if you want to see the true inspiration behind Banksy's work.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2008
Don't get me started on this, but...
If there's one thing guaranteed to get under my skin, then it's the way art has been hijacked by a few artists, exhibitors and buyers and transformed into a variant of the idiotic high fashion market, where only the happy few who are up to date with new lines of thought know what on Earth is going on. When Britain's only well-known artistic prize can be won by an empty room with a light bulb going on and off then the proverbial man in the street may feel that art, which surely should be for us all, has become elitist and irrelevant.
And so along comes Banksy, with art for the literal man in the street. Maybe it's that I collect super-hero comics, but I just love the whole secret identity thing. In a culture that is so sated with the idea of celebrity, here's an artist who doesn't want to be recognised so that he can be free to get on with his work. How refreshing is that?
But more, I love the work. Witty, thought provoking and, when at its best, as when pictures are painted on the wall the separates the Palestinians from Israel, they're downright powerful. (And to Banksy's great credit, he includes a brief conversation with an old Palestinian man which argues persuasively against creating art on the wall).
Don't be fooled by the low price, it's a big book with hundreds of pictures. And don't pay attention to the couple of reviewers who complain about the quality of the printing. Honestly, I don't know what they're on about. It's fine.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I'm not part of the art circle, I couldn't differentiate between a Turner and Constable, but like most folk I could point out a Picasso or a Lowry (though not an art lover I do love Lowry). As an outsider it often seems amusing to see Banksy either dismissed as a vandal or fawned over because it looks cool to do so. For me Banksy was someone I found vaguely amusing, but it was only when I spent time looking at his work that I saw that it wasn't just humorous wall graffiti - it had something to say and it said it without charging an admission fee.
This book is a great collection of images which depict many of Banksy's works, some are iconic and many are less well known. The humour comes through strong and instead of being sectioned into obvious categories the book consists of 6 sections:
* Street furniture
This is a perfect book to thumb through and simply enjoy examples of some of the most creative pieces of art since the Beatles' starting playing sounds backwards. It's also a collection which can be slowly enjoyed, absorbing not just the visual impact but also the messages behind the art. Interspersed throughout the book are small text statements which convey Banksy's political views, he is a staunch anti-capitalist and a vocal advocate of "Brandalism" - his description of adverts as public property and therefore fair game for modification is slick and rings true. Art is often made inaccessible by snobbery but street art is the most democratic form of art there is, it's on public display and open for all to discuss, criticise or adore.
Its easy to see Banksy as a glorified graffiti artist, but his work collected in Wall And Peace shows how varied his art really is. From stencil graffiti to stunning sculptures he manages to generate work which promotes discussion and encourages the audience to think or even interact directly with the piece. The photos in this book don't really do full justice to the art but they still capture the spirit and portray the philosophy behind them.
In a nutshell: Who'd have thought that one of the greatest artists in the age of information would have managed to have remained anonymous for so long? And also that his thought provoking free-for-all-to-see art would spring up all around the world? He also has a pretty sharp sense of humour and it comes through strong in this fantastic compendium which serves as a celebration and also an introduction.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2006
It's great to see banksy's work in a large glossy book like this, but I have to admit to being slightly disappointed when I first got this book. It's not that there's anything wrong with this book, but having already bought Exisencilism, Cut It Out and Banging Your Head Agaist a Brick Wall, I did feel that I'd just been duped. Instead of the new Banksy book I was looking forward to what I had bought was more of a compendium of his previous works. Having said that it still is a very good book, just be warned if you have got his first three books, this does not contain much that you don't already have.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2006
This book is full of great pictures. It makes a great 'coffee table' book and ideal present. Its graffiti but you know what..? Its inspiring. Banksys Art is concise, iconic and ephemeral. If you are interested in refreshing Art I would recommend 'Wall and Piece' and 'The Lost Art' by Christian Furr, both really inspiring art books in different ways by two of my favourite artists of today.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2006
It certainly is true, Banksy has a way of observing that which is both wrong and hypocritical with the world. Be it on the streets of his hometown Bristol, the hustle and bustle of London or the particualry unnerving Gaza strip (and beyond), Banksy has something to say which is at times rather amusing but also poignant.
So we move onto "Wall and Piece" which is a summary of Banksy's work to date. This publication really does step away from his previously published work in that it is a full blown hardback of some weight. His previous books were pocket size, a lot less substantial and thus far more discreet.
This publication has all the integrity and production I have come to expect of the infamous artist, but what I would say is that, being an avid fan and having already purchased his previous three books, at times, I wonder quite how much is new material, as there is quite alot of replication. My recollection of his major new work being his trip to Gaza and that has been published on his website. That said, his images are now larger and therefore have more impact. I feel that this is a book that should be addded to anyones collection of tombs to cherish.
As an aside, if you like his work and approach to life, I suggest you try to find a hardback that was published about 4 years ago by another grafitti artist by the name of "futura (2000)" for he too has a different slant on life and his work is somewhat more ethereal (featuring on many Mo'Wax record covers of the mid 90's) but no less accomplished.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I used to hate graffiti and all it stood for. seemed to me to be just youths with a spray can defacing walls. The I discovered banks and I saw Graffiti in a different light. THIS IS AN ART FORM.
This book highlights Banksy's earlier work and I just love the humour and the thinking out of the box. The humour is not just in the images here but also in the writing. This guy just doesn't take himself seriously and he mocks the World and the establishment to good effect.
The book covers some of his antics and gives a summary of what he is thinking in some situations. This guy is a world traveller and you are as likely to see his art in Palestine or USA as you are in North London. I have been fortunate enough to see his work on the streets but regret I missed the chance to wait in line in Bristol for several hours to see his exhibition a few years back. I went to the exhibition a few times and was so amazed to see long queues all day to go inside. That is what banksy's art does to you.
In a small way this book has made it up to me. Read through in an hour or so but it will be with me for life. Graffiti is Art. Banksey says so and now, so do I.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2007
I love this book! My best mate bought it for me for my birthday, and I love him for it! Banksy is a master, he really does make you think about the world around you. The book is really well presented, and makes an amazing gift. I only wanted the book to see more of Banksy's work, but found the text within the book really interesting and witty as well.