Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Staying anonymous is 'crippling', says Banksy

Banksy, the graffiti painter famous almost as much for his talent at evading public exposure as for his rebellious art, has hinted in a rare email exchange with an American reporter that the game of hide-and-seek he plays with the press and his legions of fans may be wearing him down.

"Maintaining anonymity can be kind of crippling," he told Lauren Collins of The New Yorker. The correspondence, reported in an article published in the current issue of the magazine, also reveals what appears to be a diminishing sense that his work, critiquing capitalist society, actually means much any more.


"I originally set out to try and save the world," he said, "but now I'm not sure I like it enough." He also answers critics who have accused him of succumbing to the lure of commercialism as the prices for his works - those not attached to urban furniture like walls and fly-overs - continue to soar.

"I have been called a sellout, but I give away thousands of paintings for free, how many more do you want?" he wrote. "I think it was easier when I was the underdog, and I had a lot of practise at it. The money that my work fetches these days makes me a bit uncomfortable, but that's an easy problem to solve - you just stop whingeing and give it all away. I don't think it's possible to make art about world poverty and then trouser all the cash, that's an irony too far, even for me."

There's a gallery of Banksy's work here, including the exclusive image above that he e-mailed to Collins.

It's a seven page article.

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