This is actually the 2nd time I have read Wall and Piece – each time it is promoted as a favourite at the library, I seem to pick it up. Sorry, other patrons!
For those unfamiliar with Banksy, he is a mysterious British graffiti artist, who has been anonymously painting for over 10 years. His graffiti is not much like the graffiti one usually sees in the streets, in my experience. He uses stencils so that the pieces are clean, detailed, and fast to put up.
This one is one of my favourites:
This book is a collection of some his more famous paintings, with a bit of text included. Some of the text is just amusing commentary on the paintings, but there is also a bit of background on his work, including the reasons behind his decision to use stencils and how he got the idea in the first place. Banksy’s images are sharp and the political commentary so precise, I think it would be just fascinating to meet him in person. I am obviously not the only one who feels that way, as I recall many people theorizing about his possibly showing up or tagging something when his Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated at the Oscars some years ago. I
Both times I read this, I wondered if I had seen a Banksy when I was in England in 2004 – it is unlikely and I might not have noticed it if I had. I don’t normally look very closely at graffiti, and this book has made me think about that behaviour a little bit. Maybe I am missing something really meaningful or artistic, occasionally? It is just a really enjoyable book, and is a great way to see the pieces as they seem to disappear through weathering, council cleaning projects, and efforts to sell them on eBay.