It is not known who he is, he does not authorize exhibitions, he does not grant many interviews. Political, satirical or philosophical messages appear in the streets without signing, but with a clear imprint of the artist from England. Its star characters are rats, monkeys, the English royal family, bobbies or children. His interventions are made in the fastest possible way with the stencil technique or templates, without being seen, as if it were transparent. An unauthorized exhibition by the anonymous artist Banksy is now opening at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, and in it you can see more than 50 original works donated by private collectors.
The commissioner of Banksy. The Street is a Canvas, Alexander Nachkebiya, affirms: “He has acquired the category of phenomenon, he is one of the most brilliant artists of our time. His work is a challenge for the system, a protest, an extremely well-built brand, a mystery, a disobedience to the law. “. Rafa Giménez is the director of Sold Out, the company that produces the exhibition: “Little is known about the artist, who was born in Bristol and began his works in the late 90’s. His style is so simple and captivating that even a child is capable of understanding criticism and satire of any social or political work. That is one of its great virtues. ” The exhibition features an original screenprint of the series Girl with balloon, similar to the one that sold for a million dollars at Sotheby’s auction house and which, moments after the purchase, self-destroyed because it had a shredder hidden inside the frame. A criticism of the system itself that constantly commercializes it.
Anonymity has its good things, such as appearing and disappearing, creating in freedom, painting sharp messages on walls or spaces considered as not allowed. Anonymity allows us to skip legality and, from this act considered vandalism, to work in art, get the message across without intermediaries or do politics, such as financing and painting the Louise Michael boat so that in the Mediterranean it would save the lives of migrants trying to reach Europe.
But in that anonymity comes his conviction, the trap and the other side of the coin: Bansky has lost the copyright of Flower thrower, which appeared in the West Bank in 2003. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has found that it cannot prove that it is his work, so the postcard company Full Color Black can continue to do business with the creation made in Bansky.
In our streets we can also see murals, graffiti and interventions by prestigious local artists with similarities to Bansky. Of appearing in the press for his murals that go viral and anonymity he also knows J. Warx, that in the streets of Valencia he has drawn King Juan Carlos on the run, Miguel Bosé in a doctor’s gown or Pedro Sánchez with a Hitler mustache and with his 2012 tweet “home now it’s time.” He doesn’t give his name, he doesn’t show his face, and he acts as fast as possible.
J. Warx tells us: “As I normally paint without permission, I don’t want to make it so easy for them to fine me. Even if I made it legal, I want to expose my art, not myself, I want to judge what I paint, not the painter. Under anonymity I feel totally free, and I do things that with my name I would be self-conscious “. On the technique and pre-production work: “As I paint without permission, I need to make it look like what I’m doing is legal, so it takes me a long time to find walls or places where not many people pass by or it seems that they have given me permission. It took me an hour to draw the King’s, so now I’m experimenting with stencils to paint as quickly as possible. Painting in the street raises my adrenaline, the important thing for me is to have fun and that my messages reach many people. ”
J. Warx is an engineer and has jobs outside of art, but the one who does make a living from it is Baby wapa wapa that, in addition to charging for murals commissioned by the institutions, participates in festivals such as Meow Fanzara and sells his creations. In Spain, there are more and more Street Art artists who make a living from it and have international prestige and work, collectives like Boa Mistura or writers like Felipe Pantone, Escif, Aryz, Slim Safont or Kram. Nena wapa wapa does not give her name, although in the artistic world of Valencia she is well known: “The important thing is not me, it is my work, it is the discourse that what I do, not what I say personally” .
La Nena wapa wapa has been able to professionalize herself and shares the COCIN4S workshop with other street art artists such as Freskales, Disneylexya and David de Limón. The wapa wapa babe has also been invited to the Zaragoza festival Assault. The festivals of urban art do work of diffusion and support to the artists. Sergio Beltrán is a member of the Asalto festival, which has been running for 15 editions: “It is important to remunerate artists. An artist is a worker, art and culture is important to our society and we must recognize it. Painting in the street does not mean that it has to be done for free. Artists have the right to live with what they do. Art and culture is an absolute common good. “
Nena wapa wapa has collaborated with Stool Streetart, and Stool himself defines what he does as “artivism”: “I have campaigned against bookmakers denouncing the distance between houses and schools, for example. The feminicide counter installed on the facade of the Valencian Institute became very viral of Modern Art and that now, in addition, I have turned into a pyramid of sexist violence. Art is a very powerful communicator, when I make a claim embedded within a work of art it multiplies its power. That is what happens with Banksy ” .
Art in the street is multiple, varied and diverse and is not only made up of murals and graffiti. The ephemeral nature of the pieces, as well as the creativity and interaction with urban furniture is indisputable. There are original proposals such as the work of Arquicostura – Raquel Rodrigo: “In a window dressing project I had the need to go beyond that glass barrier and I took the showcase to the façade. In that way I began to embroider facades, since it was about taking to the street what was breathed inside the decorated store “. Raquel Rodrigo of street art is interested in breaking the barrier that exists in a museum.
“There are many people who have never entered one because they believe that it is not for them, that they do not understand art. Art is not understood, it is felt. Making art in the street is a way of sharing the power it has with more people. to transform the perception of cities, to modify the way of seeing them “, says Arquicostura. Another very original proposal is what he does in Barcelona BL2A where, from pipes or telephones, he hooks his drawn paper and turns them into coffee machines or light bulbs. The creator Ampparito he also plays with urban objects and adds his touch: “in my interventions I propose a change of approach. Before I attacked the utility to open new paths from a poetic approach. Now I have evolved to simply break the flow of what is taken for granted. Create situations that squeak, that generate whys, giving rise to reflection, aesthetic pleasure or indifference “.
Between artists, synergies, compadreo and shared works are established, although it is true that sometimes there may be small conflicts to draw on what has already been painted. Finding walls and places to work is like warming up before going out to play. The application Wallspot It makes it easier for you to know where to go to paint in your city legally. Marc García is one of the members of the company that created it, Rebobinart. After 10 years managing walls, they have also launched an artist acceleration program thanks to public funding from the Barcelona City Council. They pay writers and muralists for performing in specific locations allowed in the city. Now, they are going to debut in Madrid managing two walls in the Moratalaz neighborhood and in Vallecas.
Guillermo de la Madrid forms with Diana Prieto Madrid Street Art Project, where since 2012 they do surban Afaris and they visit and explain about Madrid’s urban art. They have done hard outreach work to destigmatize street art. In addition, they manage projects such as Pinta Malasaña! in which graffiti artists work on blinds, or on the project Circular, in which the artists collect raw material from the street and make their proposals from them. Guillermo does not like to speak of legal or illegal, he prefers to classify it as “with permission or without” and the condition of fleeting or ephemeral he considers to be the DNA of this artistic concept.
Gerson Ruiz is one of the people who form Digerible.com, the specialized online medium: “We are interested in contemporary art in its total splendor, but we highlight urban art for being more direct with the public, the same one that, due to its ephemeral nature, sometimes lasts only hours. We have assumed it as an intellectual responsibility to count with an internet space where everyone can see these artistic works as well as the works exhibited in museums. It is time to leave the established models of the art business where galleries are everything. ” Digerible.com is a catalog of artists and talent from around the world.
Guillermo de la Madrid is interested in the work of Banksy and considers him to be a fundamental artist, who has marked street art, which has valued and popularized it. “It has a component of activism that I find very interesting and pioneering. I like that it conveys a message clearly, a message often linked to some aspect of the present day and criticizing power, capitalism. Doing it from the irony, sarcasm or harshness too, but always giving a twist in his speech and not in an obvious way. Of his projects the one I remember the most is Dismaland, a kind of amusement park full of artistic interventions by more than 50 people invited by him. “Guillermo de la Madrid does not know if he will go to the exhibition at the Círculo de Bellas Artes:” I have many doubts about an exhibition not authorized by the artist , which are pieces from private collections. His work interests me, but there is a commercial spirit there that doesn’t suit him at all. “