Original Banksy
His Story

Banksy’s back. To distinguish him from those who have copied and renamed his work, he is now known as The Original Banksy.


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The Original Banksy attended a leading London art school and mastered traditional techniques. After graduating, like many potential artists, he was searching for an original creative direction.

The only person he trusted to give him honest advice was his late friend Paul Smythe (Tiny) who was Glastonbury-based.

Paul persuaded him that street art would be far better suited to Bristol which was much more of a metropolis than Glastonbury.

Banksy decided to try a combination of stencil art, with personalised touches, and practised making stencils of his images until he was satisfied with the result.

Graffiti is illegal, so it was important that he could create a work using aerosol paint as a basis and make a quick getaway before he was discovered.

Graffiti has existed for thousands of years in one form or another. It can be anything from a simple scratch mark to an elaborate wall painting. On the other hand, skilful graffiti can enhance and alter its surroundings through a colourful explosion of words and shapes.

The use of stencils meant that The Original Banksy could spray one image a night in two or three different locations, minimising time and equipment.

From a chance meeting, he established a working relationship with a local Newspaper group and often alerted them to a new work. They sensed the originality of Banksy’s approach and were keen to give him maximum coverage.

Banksy used a mask when painting, to avoid recognition which is how his anonymity was created – to avoid identification by the authorities.

The media first gave him the sobriquet Banksy, presumably due to the potential value that began to be applied to his works by art experts at the time.

It was also during this period, 2000 to 2004, that Banksy created Hope, Syd, Ka- Ching, Alien Tag and Red then, at Glastonbury, Rap Dude and Paddington.

In 2004, his relationship with the police and the media seemed to inexplicably change: they started treating him more as a graffiti terrorist, whereas previously they had chatted to him and appreciated his calls and notoriety.

Now he was just ignored. On several occasions the police tried to follow him, and, in one encounter, he hid in a rubbish skip with police standing nearby and he heard them discussing him, as if he was an imposter.

A company called Pictures on Walls Ltd  was formed in 2006 and started copying his pieces and using his name, “Banksy”, for these copies and other pieces they had created themselves. In 2008, Pest Control (Office) Ltd was incorporated, a company owned by Pictures on Walls Ltd, and they started organising different artists to copy “Banksy” pieces such as Syd, the first Rat, throughout London and elsewhere.

The Original Banksy was understandably depressed and irritated and, for a while, he lost the enthusiasm for what he was doing. It was this annoyance and frustration that caused him to create Ka-Ching, and put the sign, You Lie on his painting Syd.

He has recreated the seven original works, now on canvas, and to ensure that no future duplication of these works is possible, has included in each painting, as a backdrop, the walls similar to those that they had been originally painted on.

In 2006, Banksy sat next to Michael Eavis, an English dairy farmer and the co-creator of the Glastonbury Festival, at a birthday party watching the Glastonbury film, a rockumentary which details the history of the Glastonbury Festival from 1970 to 2005.

“I actually found Michael Eavis quite abrupt and slightly rude. He was a little too full of attitude for my liking and I felt, that despite all his wealth, I saw him more like the Glastonbury gangster!”

“I thought about him quite a lot and decided to create the picture of Michael Eavis as a gangster-rapper, stencilled on a wall alongside a very busy footpath, so that no one could miss it.

I called the media to tip them off in the hope that they might come and photograph it, but nobody turned up: it was just ignored. Around the same time, I created, Paddington, on the rear of a shop. I called the local media to notify them that they could find another Banksy work in Glastonbury.

The media replied with a very paranoid response: they were under orders not to entertain me anymore.

“This made me feel, for the first time, that they did not want to continue to play the cat-and-mouse game that we’d both enjoyed for so long and that game now, presumably due to pressure from the organisation which was about to become Pest Control (Office) Ltd, it was all over”.

Two years later in 2008, to the amazement of many festival goers, Jay Z was headlining the festival and someone, presumably under the direction of the then newly-incorporated Pest Control (Office) Ltd, had edited Banksy’s stencil version of Michael Eavis. They had added a gold ring and a gold watch, renaming the piece, Jay Zeavis. It was pictured in the Daily Mirror.

“I was still living in Glastonbury at that time and was fuming that someone had tagged my “Michael Eavis”, so I grabbed my spray can, went back to the wall and sprayed my Alien Tag over the Jay Zeavis header. It was also pictured in the Daily Mirror.

Furthermore, my Paddington Bear piece appeared in The Guardian newspaper as a Banksy with someone trying to sell it from their wall”.

21 years ago, The Original Banksy invented the game. 21 years later he has recreated his art to make it un-copyable, so that all the other Banksies can no longer copy his work.

He has transitioned from creating art on walls and now focuses on producing only a limited number of editions each year. All the pieces featured on this website were crafted by The Original Banksy, approved, and authenticated by him and his trusted professional associates, who have been authorised (refer to Legal evidence of authenticity) to represent and safeguard his interests.

Original Banksy - Off the Wall - World Exclusive

Welcome to The Original Banksy and his online exhibition Off the Wall.

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