Opinion: Bansky Graffiti or Gorilla Art?

While Banksy was in Port Talbot, I went to Brooklyn to find out the difference between graffiti and gorrilla art.  I also had a go at creating my own 'tag', 'throw up' and 'piece'.

Opinion: Bansky Graffiti or Gorilla Art?

Bristol born Banksy has made his living by creating controvertial artworks.  Little is known about the artist himself, but he is believed to have started out creating what most people would call graffiti and vandalism of property.    This is wrong and is illegal in the UK.  Anyone caught could face a fine, if the damage is more than £5,000 or go to prison for up to 10 years.  If the damage is less than £5,000 they could still get a fine or spend up to 3 months in prison.  It is also illegal to sell spray paint to anyone under 16 years old and a shopkeeper can be fined up to £2,500.

Bansky started using stencils when he was 18, as it was quicker than painting and he was less likely to get caught by the Police.  He is now one of the most famous street artists in the world.  Most of his many 'art works' in New York have been painted over, but you can still see this one on the corner of 79th Street and Broadway, as I did today.

There are three basic types of graffiti:

c9ca4109eea85a1eb4d1ae6c1f5e0d45dba2cf48.jpgf5d6fbc414bf3426f1bfc829565d16f8f65d1f0c.jpg1)  Tags - small size, low detail, basic signature, one colour and the most common as it's quick and easy to do.  This is what I have always thought of as graffiti as it looks horrible and messy and is definitely not art.

2) Throw up -  Medium size, some detail, upgraded tag, basic lettering (often bubble writing) in two colours.

Here you can see an amazing picture has been ruined by someone creating a black and white 'throw up' right across the painting.  This is really sad to see as someone will have spent a lot of time creating the original picture of the face.  I think that this is also horrid graffiti.  


3) Piece (short for masterpiece) - large size, high detail, advanced lettering and styles, usually more than 3 colours.

In Brooklyn there are literally streets and streets full of amazing street art.  

The Bushwick Collective https://www.instagram.com/thebushwickcollective/?hl=en coordinate this approved space and encourage people from around the world to share their skills and celebrate art which is free for everyone to enjoy.



I was fortunate enough to meet and work with a street artist.  I began with a tag of my name, which I then turned into a 'throw up' or bubble writing.  The best fun, but also the trickiest was having a go at creating a 'piece'.  I started by writing an outline of New York and then tried different types of fill in.  This was actually harder than I thought, as the spray cans are tricky to hold down and draw at the same time.  I think this was because I have small hands.  You need to hold the can really close to what you are writing on and keep the movement as smooth as possible.  The other problem I found was dripping, but this can happen to the most experienced artists which is why they always start their painting at the top and work down, so any drips can be more easily fixed. Others just leave their drips as you can see with the old man's hat here, as use it as a feature.981095683efeec3d22824b6859a4aed825ba76bc.jpgf6e1a608b84431f2f1a5a369a85f8c1da2f7a2f2.jpgbcbc85b915f8325a16b235b7d6c23fa42ed98057.jpga446fefb1a8888312d41114901752d2aa0aaf367.jpgc99d1ab87cc0909fae82ed58e66908e9bbca6181.jpgf38314851270b1e3d2ccde5795fbd217e24b018f.jpg

Header Image Credit: Getty Images


Evie Wildish

Evie Wildish

I've completed my Bronze Award and am now working towards my Silver Award. I love art, painting, drawing, science and reading. I think I would like to be a graphic designer when I am older.

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  • Emrys Green

    On 25 December 2018, 16:44 Emrys Green Voice Team commented:

    Good to learn about the types! How will this impact your own work and what did you think to Banksy’s work?

  • Evie Wildish

    On 26 December 2018, 02:16 Evie Wildish commented:

    I don't think I'm in any hurry to take up spray painting but it was fun to try something completely different. It has also given me a greater understanding of a different types of art and I will definitely look to learn more about Banksy. His paintings are often very simple but he blends and shades with black and white really well. I think I will add trying stencilling to my 2019 to do list.

    I think mindless vandalism is wrong but I also think there are some amazing artists who need to be given space and the opportunity to follow their passions. I also like the idea of art being free and open to everyone. I particularly like outdoor art. Some of the art galleries I have visited during this trip to New York have been very expensive to visit.

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