Hello! Rife Magazine ceased publishing new work in July 2022.

We've kept the magazine online as an archive and hope you'll still continue to enjoy all of its contributions from the last 8 years.

The Rife Team

Is Banksy Still a Local Hero or Is He Played Out?

Copyright: The Guardian

Copyright: The Guardian

In light of his new pieces in Bristol, Ella Buxton asks whether Banksy is still a local hero or not, and why does anyone really care about who he is?

His work often is more about ideas than objects…

Meet Banksy: a distinct Bristol-bred artist whose identity remained unknown until recent events that have led to a ‘brand new’ identity being exposed. Here is a man who has left his mark all over Bristol. He is responsible for some of our most iconic landmarks. His acclaim has taken him all over the world, too, resulting in a recent residency in New York. Still, he is  the most famous ‘unidentified’ artist today. Just last week, a new piece, ‘Girl With Pierced Eardrum‘ appeared on Hanover Street, drawing attention to its neighbour, a local charity.

Is Banksy’s work still relevant to young people’s lives today?

Recently, his artwork, ‘Mobile Lovers’, was removed within hours of being created to help a struggling Bristol youth club project raise money. The artwork was first viewed in Clement Street, and although being removed so quickly, it was never forgotten. The piece was free to view, though the club requested a small donation to help fund the project. The artist’s distinct influence on society, pop culture and politics gives us hope. Banksy expresses that all these areas are completely different and each one represents something important about community. His work often is more about ideas than objects, it’s about the ongoing dialogue and the story each of his pieces represents. That is the meaning of ‘Banksy’. However, the big question… Is Banksy’s work still relevant to young people’s lives today?

Identity is a huge thing in young people’s lives. It defines you.

Identity is a huge thing in young people’s lives. It defines you. It separates you. It makes you. Without it, you’re completely lost. Banksy shows the young people of Bristol that you can make your own identity despite the way you look or how others choose to see you. Banksy, I think, has had a huge impact on young lives because his graffiti stencils are unforgettable, so important to his work. Banksy relentlessly controls his own narrative. Graffiti is so important because stencils have an extra history. ‘They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars’ he has been quoted as saying. Even though, his work was put up and within 20 minutes, it was painted over or washed away, his distinct effort to keep up his identity enabled his pieces to become an attraction. He famously said, ‘Nobody ever listened to me until they didn’t know who I was.’ This demonstrates that society thrives on challenging people who choose to hide themselves through fear and that this is the only way they can be remembered. Society is so demanding of Banksy’s identity yet aren’t they the ones who put him in this place to begin with? He shows that anyone has the ability to be heard. Young people are constantly exposed to what they should be and how they should look, yet everyone knows the name Banksy. The conclusion is that you don’t have to be a celebrity to have your name remembered and it doesn’t matter where you are from or what your roots are, it’s your talent that defines you.

Banksy relentlessly controls his own narrative.

Despite recent events of Banksy’s identity becoming known to society, the excitement still lives on as his work has progressed from the streets of Bristol to prints on T-shirts sold on eBay. The image he has created is bigger than his identity as it presents the capability of an individual that was looked over by many. Has this ended the anonymity buzz? So is Banksy still relevant? Well, his work has helped many financially and personally. He is a role model. Something all young people need in their lives.

What do you think? Is Banksy still a local hero or are you bored now? Let us know: @rifemag