laughing all the way to the bank-sy

the first time i saw banksy's work was on the side of a bridge in south london several years ago.  it said banksy in big paint rolled letters.  a few years later, i heard he was having a show at a warehouse in downtown la.  so being the hipsters and seekers of fun that we are, my friends and i traveled to the "secret" location and braved the sweat soaked crowds and sunglassed celebrities - and sweaty sunglassed celebrities - to see what all the fuss was about.  one thing i can tell you deserved the fuss was the decoratively painted pink elephant chilling out inside a white-picket-fence-enclosed replica of the married with children living room.  first, you'll be happy to know the paint used to make him blend in with grandma's bathroom wallpaper was not harmful in any way physically to the elephant.  whether is was a particularly pleasurable experience for the little guy, we may never know.  let's just hope he likes pink.  we watched him get fed m&m's by the hand full, so life couldn't have been all that rough.  regardless it was quite an impressive sight.  in fact the oglers' reactions were almost as engaging.  the overall impression seemed to be one of curiosity, shock, and disbelief along with an "i'm not sure how i feel about this so i'm going to wait until i read what they say in the la weekly to thoroughly form my opinion" type attitude.  confused might be the most accurate pulse of the crowd, but that could have been an effect of the heat stroke more than the elephant in the room, or was that just macaulay culkin...  anyway, the art.  yes, the art.  banksy makes cleverly and succinctly executed pieces of irreverent social commentary.  you may have seen his stenciled graffiti on melrose or his name across a building in london, like i did.  but his art is getting more and more sophisticated, and evidently so is his wallet.  what i find most interesting is how he is now participating in the very system he makes a mockery of in his work.  though, whose ironic laughter is louder, i'm not sure.  apparently all the proceeds of his work go to allowing him to travel the world and do his thing, which seems to be a worthy cause.  and he's certainly not in it for the fame since his actual identity remains a mystery even to this day.  but whatever the intent behind his work, i think his message is clear.  not only is it clear, it is poignant, provoking, controversial and beautiful.  i could tell you what his message is, or at least what i think it is, but i think that would diminish the very thing he's trying to incite in his onlookers.  so check out his work and figure it out for yourself.  have a good chuckle or a horrified gasp, just don't pretend like you don't know what the fuck he's talking about.


and for further interest check out:

new yorker article