Sunday, 31 July 2022

Banksy Antonelli and Marziani Book Review

Banksy, the best known living artist, is an enigma with a perverse attitude to celebrity status and personal information. In an age where non-entities share every plate of food, change of eyeshadow and ill-advised swimwear hot, this is this is a major anomaly.

Banksy cover


Anonymity and secrecy fuels curiosity so there have been many books about Banksy, though none actually by him since “Wall and Piece” in 2005. The economically titled “Banksy”, Stefano Antonelli & Gianluca Marziani, Rizzoli International Publications, 2022, unauthorised, collects together a significant amount of material addressing Banksy the street artist, the art world darling, the enfant terrible and Banksy the “polite vandal”.

Banksy Antonelli Marziani p 16 17


Liberally illustrated with large photos, Banksy’s indoor gallery art and his outdoor street art get pretty much equal billing.

Having two authors lends two distinct dimensions to the book. A significant portion of the book is basically chronological, with photographs illustrating Banksy activity from very early freehand collaborations in Bristol right up to screengrabs of the two videos released by Banksy during lockdown.

Banksy Antonelli Marziani p 154 155


The years 2014 and 2016 are omitted so curiously no references to Banksy’s only known signed confession (Mobile Lovers) and his use of a QR code in 2016 to link the Gassed Cosette street image opposite London’s French Embassy to his underlying humanitarian political point.

The second and perhaps more interesting aspect is the philosophical, art history and political analysis which are covered with far superior writing quality. Perhaps I am too easily impressed when I have to google the words. The book makes a strong case for Banksy as a serious and art-world credible artist, something art critics are often inclined to deny.

Banksy Antonelli Marziani p28 29


The one thing no one wants revealed is thankfully not addressed in any great depth. The authors simply acknowledge the oft-repeated un-confirmed guess from the Telegraph years ago, seemingly on the basis that prior repetition by enough other people provides validation. The car park attendant in Weston Super Mare must be gutted.

Banksy Antonelli Marziani P189


Some cultural nuances are strangely overlooked such as in the dissection of the title of Banksy’s last book, there are cross references to Tolstoy’s “war and peace” and a tricky allusion to a wall as a source of social media output (me neither) but Banksy’s key joke that to a graffiti writer, a “piece” is a complex multi-colour graffito is not mentioned at all.

There is an excellent Banksy mind-map placing Banksy in context between street art and graffiti with a stream of influences and effects. Many similar graphics exist such as Cedar Lewisohn’s hand scribbled 2008 street art mind map, they are endlessly fascinating and never easy to agree 100% with, this is the first I have seen regarding Banksy and the authors have done a great job with it.

Banksy Antonelli Marziani p 14 15


The book would have benefited from more careful fact checking with errors in dates slipping through and even one artwork not by Banksy but is not attributed to anyone else either.

There is always room for another Banksy book in the market. The passage of time provides perspective on Banksy’s earlier career and as long as he remains active there is scope for updating on his latest twists and subversions of the act of creating and disseminating art. Its range of photographs earns it its position on the bookshelf of the Banksy curious and the in-depth analysis will provide food for thought for the die-hard fan base.

© Banksy, by Stefano Antonelli and Gianluca Marziani, Rizzoli Electa, 2022
Hardcover / 10.25” x 11.25” / 240 pages / 194 colour illustrations
£29.95 / ISBN: 978-0-8478-7276-3
Rizzoli Electa / Release date: June 2022

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi batter Brick Lane

Jean Peut-Etre & Boxitrixi
Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi (also feat My Dog Sighs)


A wonderful new batch of paste ups from a pair of overseas artists really gave a huge make over to some of Shoreditch’s paste up halls of fame.

Jean Peut-Etre & Boxitrixi
Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi


Jean Peut-Etre & Boxitrixi
We can see.... Jean Peut-Etre and Boxitrixi


Jean Peut-Etre is from France, quelle surprise, and collages letterpress and screenprinted paste ups on found vintage paper.

Jean Peut-Etre
Jean Peut-Etre (also feat Subdude, Face The Strange, Ghead, City Kitty)


Jean Peut-Etre
Jean Peut-Etre


Jean Peut-Etre
Jean Peut-Etre


Jean Peut-Etre
Jean Peut-Etre


Boxitrixi is from Argentina and is currently a welcome resident in the UK with a glorious line in wood block printed na├»ve tribal characters. Boxitrixi’s paste-ups were applied with an urgent roughness leaving ripples, wrinkles and textures in the paper. The art acquired an instantly aged appearance entirely in keeping with the roughness of the printed images.

Jean Peut-Etre & Boxitrixi
Boxitrixi


Boxitrixi
Boxitrixi


Boxitrixi
Boxitrixi


Boxitrixi
Boxitrixi


Boxitrixi
Boxitrixi


The way the pair attacked the walls leaves you admiring both the individual prints and also the combined collaged sum of the parts.

Jean Peut-Etre & Boxitrixi
Jean Peut-etre and Boxitrixi


Boxitrixi & Jean Peut-Etre
Jean Peut-etre and Boxitrixi


Boxitrixi & Jean Peut-Etre
Jean Peut-etre and Boxitrixi


Links:

Jean Peut-Etre Instagram 

Boxitrixi Instagram

all photos: Dave Stuart

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Pride Street Art In Shoreditch

 

Last weekend marked London’s main 2022 Pride celebration and a lot of new street art appeared in Shoreditch in celebration of and support for the LGBTQ community.

On the Shoreditch Street Art Tour on Sunday I was asked by one guest why the London Pride was in July rather than June as they were used to. Post tour digging revealed that “Pride in London”, the official title at present, is timed for the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in NYC which followed police raids on the Stonewall gay bar on 28th June.

Beirdo
Beirdo


The pride rainbow flag features in a lot of the Pride art pieces in its 6 colour traditional colour form, as opposed to the usual 7 colour representation of a rainbow. The first rainbow flag was designed by the artist Gilbert Blake in 1978 at the request of Harvey Milk (see the film Milk, excellent). It had 8 colours, the traditional 7 colours of the rainbow plus hot pink above the red. Each of the 8 colours was assigned a specific meaning. In 1979, aiming to increase flag production, the pink strip was dropped as hot pink material was not readily available. The turquoise stripe was also dropped so that the flag could be split and displayed in symmetrical paired halves each having three stripes. Thus the common Pride 6 colour rainbow evolved.

Subdude used an 8 stripe Pride flag to highlight statutory homophobia on the African continent.

Subdude
Subdude


Street artist Beirdo prefers 6 colours, or perhaps was just out of hot pink and turquoise A4

. Beirdo
Beirdo - Pride London 2022


Apparan sends her greetings and wishes you Happy Pride, with 7 rainbow stripes.

Apparan
Apparan - Pride London 2022


Drash La Krass has a list. No homophobia, no biphobia, no transphobia, no sexism!

Drash La Krass
Drash La Krass - Pride London 2022


Ghead_Tra is a new name this year to the Shoreditch street art scene and his art hates hatred and Conservatives. The God Loves Gays tricolour specifically aims at the vile spewing Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas USA.

Ghead_tra Ghead_art - Pride London 2022


If this next text based piece isn’t Ghead then Ghead ought to get together with the Unknown Artist as the message seamlessly blends that two big issues Ghead.

Artist not known
Unknown artist - Pride London 2022


Sidenote: on another matter the same so-called place of worship also holds extreme views on abortion and Ghead_tra parodies another specimen of Westboro extremism in opposition to that message.

Abortion Is My Bloody Choice - Ghead_tra
"Abortion is my bloody choice", Ghead_tra, July 2022


Ahead of this week’s Tory party implosion Social Sniper homed in on an issue which highlighted the breakdown of trust by members of the LGBTQ community in politicians. This may need to be read slowly. Conversion therapy is a process aimed at “curing” or changing expressions of gender behaviour, identity or expression. To describe it as controversial would be to miss the most unacceptable aspects of the practice by a million miles. Boris Johnson decided not to proceed with legislation to ban the practice which provoked howls of horror, at which point he flipped and decided there would be a ban except it wouldn’t apply to trans conversion therapy.

Social Sniper
Social Sniper - Pride London 2022


For the curious, the background to Social Sniper’s art is another form of colour spectrum specifically representing the trans community and their supporters. Trans Pride is taking place this weekend, the weekend after Pride weekend.

Wandering down a parallel track again, one senior tory we didn’t know about before appeared on TV regretting that he had had to support the flip flops on conversion therapy policy. When politicians publicly admit to supporting policies they fundamentally disagree with, how can voters expect to elect a representative possessing even the tiniest fragment of integrity.

Mike Freer MP, Equalities Minister (quit)
Mike Freer MP, close to Boris, Equalities Ministser (resigned)


I am hugely indebted to my Shoreditch Street Art Tours co-guide Subdude for his insights and information regarding the content and installation of the art discussed.


All photos: Dave Stuart except where stated