Artist Above’s Homage to Banksy

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From artist, Above: I just uploaded my most recent stencil from Paris. It’s an interesting topic about Banksy and the thievery of street art works in general…



About this piece (watch the video at the end of this post):

Many years ago, before Banksy”™s mass appeal, he painted his popular rat image that read, “Because I”™m worthless.” Times have changed the value of his artworks and he is now a common household name. I felt it would be applicable to the current state of affairs to appropriate and change his previous statement to “Because now I”™m worth it” to reflect the past and current thievery of his street artworks.

Last year I was traveling for 3 months around Europe and spent 2 weeks in Paris. One day when I was walking around Paris I found this spot but unfortunately I had just 1 day before my flight to Rome. After observing the large concrete frame on the wall, it gave me a lot of inspiration for several ideas on how to creatively interact with the unused frame and location. One idea was to juxtapose an “art thief” stealing a popular painting like the Mona Lisa from the frame. I felt the idea and site-specific stencil would interact well with the unused frame and the fact that the Mona Lisa is located just 10 minutes away inside the Louvre museum.

Time always changes things and, with that, new situations arise. Since last year when I was in Paris I”™ve noticed a lot of new topics in street art and more importantly the thievery of art works in the street. I felt it more interesting and relevant to have the art thief portrayed in the stencil stealing a piece of art that actually gets stolen quite often. The English artist Banksy is one of the most popular street artists and highly publicized victims of the theft of his street artworks. It”™s not by random chance this happens to Banksy”™s art as, first and foremost, he makes great work, but also due to the fact that his indoor works have sold for several hundred thousand dollars. You can imagine when he paints outside in the street his works are soon sought after by thieves.

It”™s an interesting concept and somewhat of an irony as we, the artists and the thieves, are both working in an illegal manner. One illegal activity inspires another. The artist paints illegally with spray cans on a wall, while the thieves jack hammer and chip off illegally painted walls, illegally. It”™s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black to a degree.

I took the initiative to comment and create a situation in this piece that could mimic both illegal acts simultaneously executed here in the painting and in the process.