Sunday, 15 January 2017

15 January - Banksy

Desperate to escape Cardiff, which seems to be a kryptonite shackle to my brain at the moment, the other day I went on a Banksy art trail around Bristol. It was like Treasure Hunt, only without Anneka Rice.

I love graffiti art. And I do think graffiti is art. The skill for detail graffiti artists show at times is incredible - I have looked at some artists work and have sometimes felt I have been looking at some kind of photograph. Often the sheer scale is a thing to behold. It is the same stirring of admiring awe I get when gazing at paintings in galleries - the only difference is that these are straight onto brick walls and with spray cans, not a nice neat canvas with oils or watercolours. Different materials. Same effect. Maybe not all art should be behind doors or inside.

Banksy has always interested me, because I have always thought his work was current, relevant and clever. And of course, the anonymity randometer of it all gives it an extra teaspoon of intrigue.

I was lucky enough to visit Dismaland and came out of it incredibly conflicted and unsure. It was not unlike some actual-not-even-trying-to-be-dismal seaside 'resorts' I had been to in the UK, and many of the incredibly upper middle class people there were completely missing the point. I couldn't help feel that he was taking us all for one massive money making ride. But maybe thats what he was aiming for.


However, I decided I wanted to try and photograph some of his works across Bristol that I could find in a day. A bit like a Banksy Pokemon Go. There are not volumes to find, but when you don't know the city, nor sure of what state you would find them in if any, it seemed like a fun challenge.

I enjoy photographing graffiti; not only do I just like finding it and admiring it, but I like the idea of photographing something that may well not even exist in a number of years, months, even weeks. Often graffiti does remain, tattooed onto the streets, but very often it gets removed, vandalised, weathered, painted over, and eventually worn away by time itself. Photographs become the documentation of something that seems endangered. Indeed, some Banksy works are now worn or barely visible, like faded prints when the ink cartridges are running on empty:

January 2017 - the masked gorilla is looking decidedly sorry for itself

To focus solely on Banksy does a disservice to the many other fantastically talented street artists practicing on the streets in the city.  What struck me was how much incredible graffiti Bristol is blessed with. Compared to Cardiff especially.

Cardiff has become monotone and 2D to my wary eyes.
Banksy Bristol art trail
Other Bristol graffiti

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