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Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall Hardcover – 1 May 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (1 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845136993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845136994
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 363,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
(3.5 stars) If Banksy is now considered part of the recognized "art world," as author Will Ellsworth-Jones contends in this enlightening biography, it is certainly not what Banksy himself would ever have envisioned as a youth. Born in 1974, in Bristol, England, then the center of a lively graffiti "art scene," Banksy saw the nightly battles between young men armed with aerosol paint cans and the police who wanted to arrest them for defacing property, a counterculture phenomenon centered around Barton Hill. He joined that night-time scene when he was only fourteen, excited by the hit-and-run atmosphere which surrounded these street artists.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Banksy's website has a faq. Q: "What's with the new books about Banksy?" A: "Don't know. I haven't been involved with any of them." This sounds cool, like he's not that arsed, but you can bet that either Banksy or one of his heavies has given this book the once over... and they won't like it one bit.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book about banksy. Takes you on a trip around London and Bristol and into the graffiti world, to get an understanding of banksy world and the hype that has grown up about him
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book covering the rise and rise of Bristol's most well known yet unknown phenomenon. I've been a fan for years and it's great to put some flesh onto the bones I already knew about. Really well researched and thoroughly enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this book would hace had a lot more pictures of Banksy's work so was disappointed by the actual book. Delivery was quick and I had no problems with my order. Happy with the condition of item and delivery but disappointed with the contents of the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good read about bansky by a respectful writer who doesn't want to expose him.enjoyed it
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought for my son who is a Banksy fan. Fast delivery and item as described. Would use again and recommend as had no problems with service.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A bit of a let down. It just all hear say and nothing you couldn't find out by spending an hour on the Internet.
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