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An original Banksy in Tib Street,
England in June, 2010, desecrated days after it was exposed as 'the real thing' on television news.
He claims he changed to stencilling whilst he was hiding from the police under a dumper truck, when he noticed the stencilled serial number and by employing this technique, he soon became more widely noticed for his art around Bristol and London. Much of his work has a political message – anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-establishment. He has painted a hole revealing blue sky – one of nine stencils – on the Palestinian side of Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank and deposited an inflatable doll dressed as a Guantanamo detainee at Disneyland.
By 2007, Banksy's work was selling for huge sums of money. It Banksy's ingenuity which has made him the darling of collectors, including Damien Hirst, who sealed the graffiti artist's reputation when he included his pieces in a 2006 exhibition of his personal art collection at the Serpentine Gallery in London, In The Darkest Hour There May Be Light. His Barely Legal exhibition in Los Angeles in September 2006, including an Indian elephant painted in a pink floral wallpaper pattern, brought him international attention. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are fans, as is Christina Aguilera, who bought three prints including Queen Victoria sitting on a woman's face in 2006. The pieces that sell at auction are mainly painted on canvas, board and metal.
While he is undoubtedly an incredible talent and an inspirational and innovative artist, his wall art, remains hugely controversial, provoking veteran art critic, to call him a "complete clown."
Believed to have been born in Yate, near Bristol in 1974, Banksy's true identity remains a mystery. He started as a freehand graffiti artist in 1992–1994 as one of Bristol's DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ), with Kato and Tes. He was inspired by local artists and his work was part of the larger Bristol underground scene. By 2000 he was predominantly using stencils for his art after realising how much less time it took to complete a piece by this method.