Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall Hardcover – 1 May 2012
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'pacy account of street-artist Banksy's rise to fame'(Art Quarterly)
'impressed by this measured account of his career'(Independent on Sunday)
'a joy to read'(The Independent)
"Not an unmasking but an investigative look at the street’s extraordinary rise from Bristol graffitist to lucrative ‘national treasure’ - and all the contradictions that entails”(Holly Kyte Seven, Sunday Telegraph)
'don't miss!'(Country & Town House)
'An admirer yet also an accomplished investigative reporter, [Will Ellsworth-Jones] casts a detailed and enthusiastic eye over all aspects of Banksy's career'(Scotsman)
‘This is a fascinating portrait that elicits admiration for a man who, despite his increasingly unconvincing efforts to retain some shreds of his vandal status, has had an undeniable impact on art’(The Times)
‘Ellsworth-Jones casts a detailed and enthusiastic eye over all aspects of Banksy’s career, from the Bristol graffiti scene where he first experimented in the 1980’s, through the development of Banksy’s trademark stencilled style, to his growing audacity and success and the controlling and sophisticated publicity and business machine of today’(Evening Standard)
‘A fascinating history of a wholly likeable art phenomenon’(The Sunday Times)
'Ellsworth-Jones writes perceptively about the "ethical dilemmas" created by Banksy's marketing techniques, yet still communicates the excitement of a "treasure hunt" for traces of his work in the scruffier purlieus of London’(Observer)
'A credible and intelligent portrait of a unique artist, reluctant capitalist and control freak struggling to preserve his own myth and maintain his outsider status’(Independent on Sunday)
'Britain's unlikeliest national treasure'(Simon Usborne Independent)
'a relentless following of the money, and the exploration of the tortured interface between art and commerce'(Guardian)
About the Author
WILL ELLSWORTH-JONES was chief reporter and then New York correspondent for the Sunday Times as well as holding senior editorial positions at the Telegraph Magazine, The Independent Magazine and Saga Magazine. His previous book for Aurum was a history of conscientious objectors in the First World War, We Will Not Fight. He lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
Graffiti is a "lawless activity with a million and one laws," the author explains. For most artists the "passion and fame...the comradeship, the challenge, and the fear" shared among other artists is what it is all about, and many "graffiti artists" do not consider Banksy one of them at all. One fellow artist explains that graffiti artists "only write their name and do characters and it's a whole ego trip and it's all about us and our peers. It's not about the public." For Banksy, however, it is all about the public and the wider audience he seeks. "[He is] painting the same walls as a graffiti artist but [he is] producing images which are instantly understandable - a gallery on the street that is inclusive rather than exclusive."
Eventually, Banksy abandoned the characters and the "bomb and run" style of his early freehand painting in favor of working as a stencil artist, which requires precision, advance planning, and organization. The designs, many with social messages, can be repeated and installed in more than one area.Read more ›
Not that there's anything derogatory or vitriolic about it - in fact, Ellsworth-Jones comes across as something of a Banksy fan - but my guess is that the reasonable tone and in-depth research is close to the bone enough to make uncomfortable reading.
The book gives a fascinating insight into Banksy's world - and what a weird place it has become. Dangerous subversive turned darling of the hideous art world he claims to despise; hailed as a genius by council officials who conveniently drop their zero-tolerance approach to graffiti when blessed with a Banksy; watching others go to prison while his work is ripped out of context and displayed in high-end galleries. All the contradictions must really mess with his head. Some are of his own making, others completely out of his control.
This excellent book paints a complex picture of Banksy. Talented artist, risk taker, shrewd self-publicist, paranoid control freak... it all somehow rings true.
Best read in conjunction with Banksy's "Wall and Piece," available from your local library if you don't fancy forking out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought for a gift for a banksy fanatic! Hope he likes it!Published 8 months ago by vickythesupermum