Sorry. On meeting an artist who works with a gallery that have exhibited Banksy’s work, I learned that he is in fact a plural noun – different
Banksy? ‘IEKA, Large Grafitti Slogans’
artists submitting under the same name. I was sceptical, but the truth was staring at me from inside the profession.
“How can you be famous and at the same time nobody knows you?” she asked. It makes sense. How can you effectively, authentically and believably interface with the world as an artist if you can’t reveal your own existence?
Something inside of me died. Nobody wants to learn that Father Christmas doesn’t exist. For years Banksy’s incisive guerrilla satire have not only redefined urban space, but the potential for art as political expression. I want to believe, but deep down I know its true, Banksey – if he ever was someone – is now no more than an idea, a meme, a con. Banksey – a collection of nobodies laughing because they are somebody who is nobody. Bastard!, I mean Bastards!
But hang on. If Banksy doesn’t exist then he cannot be discovered, he cannot be arrested, jailed or stopped. He can live in several continents simultaneously. But this is the best bit, Banksy – like some kind of omnipotent deity – will never die! If she (or he) is nobody, the she (or he) is everybody. Banksy is within us all, a recurring pattern sprouting from the mighty and eternal We. He shoots from the undergrowth like a mushroom from an clandestine mycelium network.
Each year Father Christmas heaves the slay breaking weight of grotto bookings, TV appearances and billions of childhood expectations into her (or his) December. This miracle is made possible because she (or he) isn’t. The global phenomenon of Santa Claus is enacted by a seasonal epidemic of mini clauses (or sub clauses), not so much Santa’s little helpers but spell casting dream fulfilling mini mes’, pouring yuletide wonder (and a tidal vomit of plastic) into the gaping mouth of childhood.
That’s right, this December, the giant consumer conspiracy sold to us as Christmas is finding new surfaces to graffiti its brain bleaching cliches of buy. New ways to cultivate thing addictions, eating disorders and feelings of inadequacy. Ho, ho, fucking ho! Thank you Father Christmas, all of us, we merry makers of debt obesity.
We are all Banksy now. So pick up a stencil, a spray can and sack stuffed with indignation. Take back your streets before the Bastard capitalist Santa Claus gets there first, or worse, creeps into your home and into your stockings.