How important is knowing the identity of artist? Without knowing who he is, the viewer is not predisposed to his beliefs. However, with contextual clues of reoccurring graffiti, readers are able to discern who Banksy is as an artist. He is, first and foremost, a graffiti artist that is bound by the code to not “sell-out.” Banksy is legitimized by the underground, graffiti world, but is also an accepted artist in mainstream culture. He has gained a respectable status that allows his art to become a present of value that is graced on certain walls – chosen. Because certain graffiti artists have not attained such rights, their art is considered as vandalism. Although he asserts he is not a sell-out, there has been a lot of criticism on his motivations as an artist, especially in regards to his recent documentary. Is he driven by money or is his main driving factor to incite thought?
Regardless, his art is playful but infused with a message that is so open to interpretation that it is inherent in mass appeal. The gallery highlights some of the most provocative images Banksy produced. In that, we see his commentary on society that is often rooted in history. We see his remarks on controversial topics such as same-sex PDA, war, innocence, and societal issues such as obesity. All of which reflect our culture and morality, suggesting the reader to self examine his or her role as a citizen, a part of the working community, and as a human. Banksy’s mysterious nature is meant to allow the art to speak for itself, rather than him creating a specific meaning for what is meant for the public. Meaning is made specific by the reader and thus made important, disregarding the who of the art. As the location of his art is discovered at random in random places, he uses art as a secondary language to bring people together, garner thought, and make expose people to an experience that is not hindered by speech. The balloon now denotes a connotation of hope. The rat now serves as a symbol of the graffiti artist, living amongst society without detection.