Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall/ 2013
While hiding from the limelight, Banksy has made himself into one of the world’s best-known living artists. His pieces have fetched millions of dollars at prestigious auction houses. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his film Exit Through the Gift Shop. Once viewed as vandalism, his work is now venerated; fans have gone so far as to dismantle the walls that he has painted on for collection and sale.
In this book reporter Will Ellsworth-Jones pieces together the story of Banksy, building up a picture of the man and the world in which he operates. He talks to his friends and enemies, those who knew him in his early, unnoticed days, and those who have watched him try to come to terms with his newfound fame and success.
Author says this book is “unofficial,” it has not been authorized by Banksy. You will learn many interesting facts about the artist but this book doesn’t contain many photos.
Search for the book in Alachua County Library.
Inspired by this book, I went to New Orleans, LA (the closest to Gainesville place) in order to find at least one Banksy’s stencil work. “Girl with Umbrella” appeared on a New Orleans wall in 2008, along with 15 more his stencils. But only three survived, now protected with plexiglass. Other works were washed away, or tagged out of existence, or stolen… There are a lot of wall pieces which have been sold, are up for sale or have disappeared and are likely to appear on the market one day. “Girl with Umbrella” was nearly stolen as well. After that attempt, the wall was covered with plywood and put under guard. Another time someone tried to deface it with red paint, unsuccessfully. It was cleaned of by locals, who are really proud of having a Banksy on their city walls, and even turned the site into a landmark.
In an interview, Banksy said that this stencil represents how things that are supposed to protect us can also hurt us. The girl is standing under the umbrella, a portable roof, but is getting rained on regardless. The umbrella should be protecting her from the rain, but it is instead its source. She is holding out her hand to see if it is like that outside the umbrella.
The book “The man behind the wall” says that similar walls can go for about $700,000. By the way, according to Urbanite two Banksy murals will be auctioned at Julien’s annual Street Art auction in Beverly Hills for an estimated price of 1 million dollars!
Being in New Orleans I interviewed neighbors who live right across the street from this art piece and they told me a different story: