Banksy: The Man behind the Wall
Revised and Illustrated Edition
by Will Ellsworth-Jones
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 07 Dec 2021 | Archive Date 22 Dec 2021
Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion, Frances Lincoln
For someone who shuns the limelight so completely that he conceals his name, never shows his face and gives interviews only by email, Banksy is remarkably famous.
This fully updated and illustrated story of Banksy’s life and career builds an intriguing picture of his world and unpicks its contradictions. Whether art or vandalism, anti-establishment or sell-out, Banksy and his work have become a cultural phenomenon and the question ‘Who is Banksy?’ is as much about his career as it is ‘the man behind the wall’.
From his beginnings as a Bristol graffiti artist, his artwork is now sold at auction for seven-figure sums and hangs on celebrities’ walls. The appearance of a new Banksy is national news, his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop was Oscar-nominated and people queue for hours to see his latest exhibition. Now moreNational Treasure than edgy outsider, who is Banksy and how did he become what he is today?
This book charts Banksy's journey from the graffiti-scrawled streets of Barton Hill, the working class neighbourhood of Bristol where he and others covered the walls with vibrant pieces while trying to avoid the police, through to some of the most prestigious galleries of the world, where his daring acts of guerilla art have forced us to reconsider how we define as art.
From the artist's own words to recollections of friends and colleagues, this book also examines the contradictions of Banksy's life: charting how a privately educated boy from a middle class area of Bristol reinvented himself as a rogue and an outlaw who would take the art world by storm.
With beautiful reproductions of some of his most controversial and recognisable works, this detailed study is a truly indispensible guide to understanding the ultimate art rebel whose work is no less relevant today than it was when he first started out some thirty years ago.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 32 members
This is very much a book about Banksy the person, not Banksy's art, though, of course, the two are inextricable. Readers shouldn't expect an art-forward coffee table book with commentary. Rather, this is a thorough and well-researched examination of the artist, his career, and what the choices he's made say about him and how he fits into the art world and society. The overall tone is quite measured. The author mostly maintains a remove, neither wholly venerating or condemning Banksy, but also not afraid to let his own words and actions occasionally show him in an unflattering light. It doesn't seem to advance any particular judgment about Banksy, letting the reader draw that conclusion themselves. For my part, I came away with respect for Banksy's talent and many of the points he's made, while also thinking I'd find him personally tiresome if I were ever trapped next to him at a dinner party. Though the focus is not Banksy's art, the book includes a generous amount of images, including several full-page. Anyone interested in Banksy, street art, or contemporary art will find this a worthwhile read. Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!
An absolutely amazing book, which looks in to the history of Banksy. The photos of the artwork was amazing - just a small snapshot of this great artist. This book covers some of the older pieces right up to more modern ones. I particularly like the one he did in nottingham - so clever as it links so well to Nottingham’s past (Raleigh bikes). A very clever artist, explained a bit more in this book.
Banksy Quarto Publishing Group-White lion publishing Publication Dec 6, 2021 I’ve always been a huge fan of Banksy. His art, his ideas, his middle finger to society point of view. I was excited to read this new book hoping to learn more of this England based street artist whose Identity remains unknown. He’s know for his controversial street art and political activism. He’s quoted saying “there’s no such thing as justice and there’s no point in behaving yourself.” So that gives you an idea of what is going on in his head, what his thought process is and where is ideas come from. This book does a great job capturing and explaining Banksy. A detailed report of how he started and his career up to present day. “To an outsider it is vandalism or…a tactic of the dispossessed in achieving a sense of identity” Half the book is his art which is phenomenal. Many pieces I had never seen. And they are explained which is a bonus. Some of Banksy’s work your left wondering what the message is. I’ll buy the book just to have his art in one place. This is an excellent, must have guide capturing this mysterious character.
I really enjoyed this thorough, interesting and entertaining look at the world of Banksy. From his beginnings in Bristol, to his early successes on walls, prints and installations and how the art world treats him(not to mention the prices his work sells for these days!). And there’s plenty of pictures to look at too.
What's the book about? Author and journalist, Will Ellsworth-Jones covers controversial and iconic artist Banksy's life and work in this completely revised and lavishly illustrated edition. My thoughts: I found this book to be very interesting. I knew of Banksy but didn't know much about him and his history. It was a good read that was informative and entertaining at the same time.
I have been fascinated with Banksy for a long time. This very detailed book is full of anecdotal and historical information about Banksy, graffiti, and other graffiti artists. It is interesting to note the influence that other artists have had on his work. The book notes his beginnings in Bristol, to London, to worldwide fame. There are numerous photographs of Banksy’s works, as they are discussed in context, as well as references, resources and extensive bibliography at the end. This is a wonderful book!
Such an amazing artist! Banksy's work has changed the way we perceive art and artists. His insistence on anonymity and his "public disobedience" in art should be an inspiration to all aspiring artists. This book depicts all this wonderfully. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to dig a little deeper under the surface of general knowledge on this phenomenon of our times.
If you want to purchase this book because you want a collection of Banksy’s art then put it down. This book is about Banksy the street artist.. There has been much speculation on his identity and this book will not reveal it. What is does do is give you an insight into his distinctive style. Coming out of Bristol his work has appeared up and down the country. This book is an interesting read. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to see an arc
Interesting as I didnt know much about Banksy and this author gave me an insight. Fully recommend. I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own.
Banksy: The Man behind the Wall illustrates the story of Banksy’s life and career, giving some insight into the controversy of his art. From his beginnings in Bristol as a Graffiti artist to the cultural phenomenon he has become. While it is not a book detailing his art pieces there are plenty of illustrations showing a variety of them. It is a book full of intrigue and interest detailing the story of an icon of our time. A great read.
Miami Art Week 2021 and Banksy's 'Charlie Brown' sells for $4 million. How did it come to this? Will Ellsworth-Jones has done a lot of digging in order to present a profile of Banksy's journey from cheeky street artist evading authorities to cheeky yet respectable creative he is today. It might be described as a holistic approach to an unapproachable subject. There is formidable loyalty from those who have known him for a long time and contractual loyalty from those who have worked with him. This protects his famous anonymity which is one factor in promoting the Banksy brand. As the author examines Banksy's rise in the current art market it becomes clear that the layered cleverness isn't confined to the art, but is also evident in the presentation, including the anonymity. Ellsworth-Jones also explores influences, conflicts, how Banksy's organization exerts control, and the other people who make big bucks off his art. The book is really informative and interesting and - yeah - there is a generous amount of Banksy's art.
I enjoyed this, there was a lot I didn’t know about Banksy. Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
An interesting book about the evolution of Banksy and how their art evolved. There's a lot of theories, reflections on art&politics, and food for thought. I appreciated it. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
If you read this book hoping to find out who the elusive Banksy is, you'll be disappointed. It is an interesting read nevertheless and it's great to see the artwork intermittently through the book.
Author Will Ellsworth-Jones gives us a broad history of Banksy from the point of view of someone who is a fan of the art and knowledgeable about the world in which the artist navigates. Before reading this book my awareness of the artist Banksy was from the documentary, Exit from the Gift Shop. Since then I’ve only come across his name in the news after some big stunts were pulled off at his shows, most notably an expensive painting shredding itself after being purchased at auction. Whereas before I would have dismissed this as a gimmicky stunt, this book shows that Banksy isn’t necessarily behind all of the publicity, there are a lot of people who profit from what he does and have altered people’s perception on what is legal and illegal art or even what art is. The intrigue of being anonymous has become as important to art dealers for privacy as well as Banksy for legal reasons. Even though I got the sense that the author is a fan of Banksy, he is also outside the circle enough to be critical and be able to consider the whole picture. What we know of Banksy can be read in his own books, but Ellsworth-Jones breaks down the graffiti scene in Bristol that Banksy came up in and the contradictions of the story that Banksy wants out there to what the reality actually is. We get commentary from artists who know Banksy or who consider him their rival, to an inside look of what it’s like for the average person to attempt to a Banksy piece. The author also gives us context to some of Banksy’s political messages and how much he has given back to charities as well as other artists. Overall, I feel that this book is interesting to the average reader with a casual knowledge of Banksy or street art and want a better understanding of what is going on in the art world.
Ever since he came onto the scene - I have been in awe by Banksy's art, and how he remains a mystery. A beautiful book, a true gift for anyone who admires his work.
When I see a book regarding Banksy, I am apprehensive because like many others respect that Banksy wants to remain anonymous. Will Ellsworth-Jones does a great job pinpointing certain events that have transpired in the legacy of Banksy, mentions and discusses other artists that have their own connections with Banksy, and talks about something I didn't know which is the Banksy Team that has their ear everywhere the name Banksy is mentioned. If you do not know who Banksy is then this is a good introduction to the art created by said artist and shows you different artworks made. If you do know of Banksy, then this book is a good book to keep and you might learn something new about the artist, it could also lead you to imagine what Banksy might think of NFT's and such things as they are currently, which is where this book took me to.
I'm a huge Banksy fan so reading this was obviously very enjoyable. A nice story presented in an appealing way with a lot of Banksy's work shown inside. Highly recommend as a gift to anyone who is interested in Banksy and his mission. I also think that it's a great "coffee table book" to just put somewhere in your living room and flip through whenever you feel like it - a nice conversation starter for your guests too!
I received a free e-arc of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Before reading this book I had heard of Banksy and his little rats. Two of my friends have tatoos of his work (one has the little girl, and his wife has the red balloon. So cute) but I didn't really know anything about him. This was an interesting exploration and explanation of Banksy's art and the impact he has had on the wider art world. Will Ellsworth-Jones is clearly a fan, but gives a balanced view within those constraints. While the book isn't a coffee table book of Banky's art-works the illustrations do their job, illustrating the text. I recommend for a good grounding on an important figure in both street and more conventional art.
A wonderful book delving into the mystery of Banksy. I found it informative and thought-provoking. I would definitely recommend this book for a little insight into a very private person. I received an e-book from NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.