I have typically conflicting feelings about Bansky.
Whilst I like most forms of public art, I’ve never understood the rationale that makes him so acceptable. He is, in my eyes, a decent graffiti artist but producing the kind of stencil-art that is seen in every city and town. Depending on its location, it’s sometimes viewed as a welcome addition to the cityscape or a terrible defilement of the look of the town.
Banksy, though, tends to get away with it because… well, because it’s Banksy. Much of that I guess comes down to money and the fickle way the art world has come to value his daubs. Most people upon discovering that somebody has spray-painted the end of their house would be appalled. With Bansky, though, the cash register signs begin to flash behind their eyes and they’re in contact with Southerby’s to arrange sale of the wall.
For that reason, I’m not at all surprised (and in some small way quite glad) that London transport did what they did after the Great Artist spray painted rats over one of their carriages. He then proceeded to sign his name is an ugly drippy style (saying that as a huge fan of drippy art) across the partition at the end of the carriage. Unless you knew it was HE, then you’d think it was a drunken yob who deserved a short stretch to teach them a lesson.
Yet didn’t I also say I was conflicted? So, whilst I agree with everything I’ve written thus far, I need to add the following.
I quite liked the rats.
There. I’ve said it. I quite… no… I really liked his rats.
Bansky’s best quality is that he’s often funny and the juxtaposition of his pictures do produce the kind of meaning that you wouldn’t get if they weren’t existing in the real world. The rats were, in my mind, a witty addition to the carriages and if I were travelling on those carriages, I would feel better for seeing those rats sneezing over the passengers and making an important point.
And for that reason, I wish they could have kept them.
Yet I know that sends the wrong message to all the teenage Bansky wannabees that would soon turn the London Tube into New York’s transit system of the 1970s. Because, whilst I admit that Banksy is not, IMHO, much of an artist, I also accept that not every graffiti artist is a Banksy. He’s definitely lower to middle brow as far as artists are concerned, but probably in the elite of graffitists (let’s pretend that’s a word). I guess I really appreciate him as a cartoonist producing decent satire, but if I were to rate him among cartoonists, then he’d still rank well below the greats. The only things that distinguish him are his anonymity and his transgressive actions.
Which, I guess, is the real reason I have such reservations. It’s pure envy. Being transgressive whilst anonymous is my dream job.
In other news, I got paid by Amazon this morning and I have no idea why. I think their ebook system might be buggered because in one part of the system it suggests I’m selling books and in another part it tells me that I’ve not sold a single copy. I have no idea what’s going on but I’m hesitant about asking. It has saved me from getting shouted at by the bank manager.
Today I want to draw something for this blog. It feels like readership of the site has tailed off over the past two weeks (familiar readers have disappeared form my stats) but I can’t tell if it’s because of the cartoon/writing balance has gone awry or because I’ve not been investing enough time into my work. Or perhaps people have just got bored of me now they know who and what I am…
I do know I’ve been suffering from terrible hayfever, which manifested itself as sore eyes, making it hard to work on my PC. Thankfully, the antihistamines have finally worked and I’m symptom free. Now I have to come off the tablets since they’ve been knocking me out and producing the most elaborate and detailed dreams. Last night I was with the Monty Python team as they raced speedboats along the local canal…