Let me say this from the get-go, this is not going to be some gushing fanboy post about his genius. It’s a preface to something I will be doing over the course of the next few weeks or months or however long the flow continues, if at all.
Walking into an unauthorized Banksy exhibition last week in Tokyo, I was moved, inspired and overwhelmed. I have been a Banksy fan for many years even using some of his graffiti artwork in my university classes as jumping off points for discussion. Banksy embodies everything I think an artist is meant to be – political, creative, mysterious and punk to name but a few adjectives to describe him and his body of work.
During the exhibition there were many of Banksy’s work I had not seen before. And like some crazed lunatic I took pictures of all of them. Many were incredibly moving to the point of goosebumps on my arms and neck. Whenever that happens I know it’s some powerful shit!
Walking to the train station after the exhibition with my friend we were speechless allowing the power of Banky’s images to work on our psyche. We could have sat down at a nearby coffee shop to pick apart every creative detail while making connections to the messages we think he was trying to convey, but we did not.
On the train ride back while looking at the photos of his work on my smartphone it occurred to me, having been so moved by his work, there is something here that is worthy of exploring from a writer’s perspective. From someone like me who was a punk and still carries that ethos into middle age. Who has chosen a far less traveled road than many of my cohorts. To someone who has stepped out of the system and found a sense of freedom. To someone who lives a life of creativity.
Banksy’s genius is still relevant, poignant and important today as it was when he was creating the work I will showcase over the coming months. In this day and age with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram dominating the landscape conversation is stripped down to short quips or false information. Banksy’s images do not lie. They are just powerful as taking to the streets because they are from the streets. Both forms are necessary.
What I will not be doing is disseminating his work in detail trying to spell out the message for you. What I will do is let his work inform my writing and whatever comes out comes out un-apologetically. In the climate of over-sensitivity and emotions over facts, one cannot hesitate. I cannot start from a place of concern as to whether what I say will offend. It is a disservice to art and myself.
Banksy creates un-apologetically clear and poignant. I strive for the same in my writing.
Okay, maybe a bit of a fanboy post.
Stay tuned …