Graffiti: Banksy and the contentious issue of ownership

I shall open with two bold sentences……

All works by Banksy show the following: a huge amount of skill, elements of surprise and storytelling. These qualities are what make any great artist, yet due to its context, it can be viewed as vandalism.

If you have seen my previous blog post, Graffiti: the art of vandalism VS the vandalism of art, you will have read about the contentious issue of graffiti, its place in society and, the point which I aim to highlight here: the sense of ownership. At the time of writing the previous post, it crossed my mind to talk about Banksy – the renowned yet anonymous urban artist – however it didn’t quite fit. Therefore it was great to come across a BBC article on him.

To summarise, the work discussed in the article is Mobile Lovers. A work which appeared last month and caused debate over not the authenticity, or the ‘vandalism’, but who actually owned it. It would seem that though the ‘vandalism’ took place, certain people would have preferred it to have stayed where it was. In my opinion, this makes it seem that though potential ‘vandalism’ took place, the sense of ownership over the urban-artwork was just as important to the viewers as it was/is to the artist who created it. This was especially apparent here in the number people wanting to ‘own’ this bit of Banksy.

Since then, another article, the one that led me to write this post, has been published. I am sure you will agree, it makes for yet more interesting reading about ownership.

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