Banksy: The Latest Famous Graffiti Artist

Despite what you may have read at the National Report, Paul Horner is not Banksy. The identify of the graffiti artist currently replicating works of art around Bristol, England remains a mystery.

Banksy’s most recent work was defaced just 24 hours after it was discovered and act that has unfortunately become more common as the street artist’s work becomes more famous. Other artists look to claim a bit of fame by displaying their work nearby. Some, such as the Telegraph, have even questioned if it matters whether or not Banksy’s work is defaced.

Frank Malt, a London graffiti art tour guide, expressed frustration in The Telegraph regarding the defacing of the artwork.

“People think it’s fun to deface Banksy’s work because they may get a name for themselves. Girl with the Pierced Eardrum could have been defaced by anyone — it could have been kids wanting a bit of attention.”

Malt told The Telegraph that although the world of street art may seem chaotic to an outsider, there are definite rules about how one modifies another artist’s work. He stated that an artist does not incorporate their work with someone else’s without an agreed upon collaboration plan.

Joe Epstein, who works to document street art for LDN Graffiti, argues that the nature of street art is temporary.

“Street art should be ephemeral, that’s part of what it is. It’s part of its nature to be painted out by other graffiti writers or painted over by other street artists,” he told The Telegraph.

Though Banksy creates the most highly valued works of street art currently, Banksy is far from the only graffiti artists making their marks in cities and headlines around the world. David Pierre, known for murals on city walls around the world, was recently arrested and charged with felony assault after an altercation in the East Village, but his red, white, and black murals remain visible. David Anasagasti, also known as Ahol Sniffs Glue, has made his Miami images of eyeballs so iconic that he recently sued American Eagle Outfitters, who he states used his images without permission or compensation. And the National Park Service is still investigating a graffiti artist, creepytings, who appears to have defaced as many as 10 national parks.

Unlike many of these artists who have been public regarding both their legal names and the names they use to sign their work, Banksy thus far appears to prefer anonymity. The temporary nature of street art can also bring legal challenges. A judge ruled in New York that an artist, 5Pointz, could not stop a building from being destroyed even though the artist’s artwork was on the building’s structure.

As more artists continue to use social media to display their works, the conversation is likely to continue to evolve.