Banksy Graffitied Walls and Wasn’t Sorry

Phaidon. Apr. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781838662608.
PreS-Gr 2–How do you write a biography about an icon whose identity remains a mystery? This picture book biography, told in first person, attempts to capture the spirit of world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy. Because the identity of one of the world’s most mysterious artists is unknown, the book focuses on some of the more famous exploits including Dismaland and the artist’s affinity for rats. Banksy is featured as a hooded character in black, with luminous large eyes. Comic reinterpretations of some signature pieces of art and pranks largely in black and white are featured throughout the book. The book succeeds in portraying Banksy’s playful approach to art and resistance to conventional art, but fails to give readers a visual of Banksy art. Only one photograph of a Banksy is included in the title, offering few points of reference or context for readers unfamiliar with the artist. No back matter or source notes are included.
VERDICT Those looking for more insight into Banksy’s identity and art best keep looking. Skip this one.

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