Dismal

Posted: September 13, 2015 in Blogs
Tags: , ,

‘We don’t need any more heroes; we just need someone to take out the recycling.’
Banksy

Real name unknown, date of birth unknown, place of birth, unknown. Case in point for an artist who makes a mockery of modern day celebrity culture. Since the early nineties this British graffiti artist has been subliminally advertising his views on the urban landscapes of inner-city life under the pseudonym ‘Banksy’. Views that question society with an underlying dark and apocalyptic theme. The artist has never sold out, remaining illusive and famous to this day, despite attempts to investigate and unveil his true identity.

Most people can call to mind a Banksy image, Girl with a Balloon, Flower Chucker or Bomb Hugger to name but a few of the more famous ones. My personal favourite is one labelled ‘Hunters’ depicting early man in loincloths, holding spears, seemingly in the midst of an altercation with some shopping trolleys abandoned in the long grass. I like it because it challenges everything about society that I hate: consumerism, huge corporations and the fact that we are all slaves to marketing. Not the first or only time shopping trolleys have featured in his work either and I doubt the last!

It came as no surprise that the recent opening of Banksy’s latest pop-up exhibition ‘Dismaland’ resulted in the website being rendered useless and tickets unbookable. I was one of the six million hits to the website, trying to get a ticket, but was left dismally disappointed. All part of the experience and the show, as many would claim. What is it that makes Banksy so popular and why is the idea of the banal dystopia exhibited, so appealing?  As someone who knows what they like, but has no idea about the criteria for good art, I can identify with the appeal.

Banksy’s work is uniquely accessible. He captures current affairs, politics and many other themes in a manner that simply cannot be ignored, even by those normally not interested. His powerful and clever messages are conveyed in an instant. Dismaland, being of an interactive nature, also leads the voyeur to be totally immersed. For £3 a ticket, Dismaland is the quiddity of accessible. What I find saddening, is that the 50 or so other artists who are an essential part of the Dismaland project have been almost overlooked by the media and public alike. So can it really be art that is the attraction?

I’m not usually one to jump on the band wagon of hype and hysteria surrounding something. Since the opening and subsequent dismal experiences of those trying to get in, I am somewhat put off. Like so many people I think I am original, that I don’t follow the crowd and that I am not swayed by the pressures of society. It makes me want to steer clear of the experience; much like I avoided ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, for the same reason. However I think the detriment to my creative enrichment, in this case will be notably worse.

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