If you don’t know who Bansky is, you should.
Say what you will about graffiti, I love it. I’d much rather see the creativity of the artists than empty brick walls. And Bansky’s work is clever, poignant, and most of all, beautiful. Each piece carries a powerful message about our culture, often capturing aspects of society which we’d prefer to ignore. He’s become the most celebrated street artist of our time by using his art to get people to stop for a moment and think … about themselves, their choices, and their priorities.
The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are the companies that scrawl their giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. ~ Banksy
Like any other type of art, the best way to experience it is in person. The problem with finding Banksy’s work is that anytime it appears, it’s painted over or removed. It seems there are people who fail to see it as anything more than vandalism.
While in Los Angeles, I thought I’d try to track down some of his work. My first attempt didn’t go so well, as my research wasn’t quite right, and I ended up at the wrong wall of the right building. I did, however, find a pretty impressive piece by Mr. Brainwash called Tomato Spray, so it wasn’t a total loss.
The next morning I were on the hunt again, but this time I was better prepared. I’d spent a couple of hours tracking down addresses for pieces I was confident hadn’t been destroyed. There were two (which also happened to be a couple of my favorites.) The first was downtown in a parking lot. On a huge white wall with the word PARKING painted in bright red letters, Banksy painted over the ING, and stenciled in a little girl swinging from the A. So simple, yet powerful.
Our next stop was in a more gritty part of town. There weren’t any storefronts, and the streets were abandoned. Fences lined the sidewalks, and no Banksy artwork was to be found. Luckily I recognized the location from my research earlier in the day, and I knew that what I was looking for would be right behind one of those fences. I looked between the cracks in the fence, and there it was. Now … how to get in?
Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place. ~ Banksy
We walked around the block to see if there was a way in without going over the fence. No such luck.
I don’t like breaking the law, but I had no other choice. I climbed over the fence and jumped to the ground. I half expected a pit bull to come running out of nowhere, but nothing of the sort happened. In the corner of the building was a little girl holding a crayon, watching a man from the bank nail boards across the door to the dream house she’d just drawn. A story that’s being repeated over, and over again throughout this country.
When my feet hit the sidewalk on the legal side of the fence, my quest to find graffiti by Banksy was over, as was my time in Los Angeles. In 48 hours, I’d met Marilyn Manson, went for a late night cruise on Mulholland Drive and found graffiti by Banksy. Before, I’d never had any interest in Los Angeles. Now that I’ve been there, I love it and can’t wait to go back!