Over the weekend two new Banksy works have appeared in the UK. This news is the perfect opportunity for the second post in my Inspirations series, a look at the relationship between art and culture and connections between artists.
Banksy has his own traits and styles yet there will still be some inspirations from other artists both in street art and more generally. One could speculate that his stencils are moving in the direction of an internet meme. More importantly however, these new stencils take inspiration from current media and culture.
‘Mobile Lovers’ (top and above) depicts a couple reading their phones over each others shoulders. Their faces are close but their gaze doesn’t quite meet. This statement by Banksy challenges our culture of constant phone usage and relates with current news.
The second stencil also concerns a subject in the eye of British media. ‘Spy Booth’ (below) is positioned such that a BT phone box is featured within the work.
Three spies surround the phone booth with old/stereotypical phone tapping equipment. This is obviously a reference to ‘Hackgate’, and whilst the figure look shady Banksy does not directly cast an opinion on the topic. The men in brown coats could be government officials and it is likely the placement has some meaning or target. Located on the streets of Cheltenham, home of GCHQ, this piece on Hewlett Road is just a 10 minute drive from the head quarters.
As a final note the two pieces at first seemingly unconnected have the common theme of communication and ‘Mobile Lovers’ compliments ‘Spy Booth’.
Banksy’s website is almost as illusive as the artist himself, often just displaying his tag bansky.co.uk now displays images of the two new pieces confirming Banksy’s ownership.
You can read my previous post on Banksy’s work being removed here.