Photography and Street art in North London – Who owns what and is this really the point?

Today we are stepping out of the photography school area to explore Banksy’s last piece of work in America.

On Thursday 5th December 2013 Julien’s Auctions House from Los Angeles will host an inaugural Street Art auction. This event will also feature in its sale catalogue, Banksy’s Flower Girl mural. Flower Girl is a 9 x8 foot part of a brick wall and is one of Banksy’s many murals which have become part of his signature.













How could this photo be improved?

This example of graffiti or ‘street art’ provoked a massive crowd when it was first noticed on a wall near a gas station in Hollywood. Having left his mark, Banksy made this Hollywood street famous. Suddenly the west coast of America understood the power and ethic of this contemporary art form. This was a massive step for the genre, for public perception and the continued rise of Banksy as an artistic force to be reckoned with.  The photography school thinks this is an interesting photo. But how could it be improved?

Highly ironic?

However, that aside, alongside the fame comes the usual debate we have become so familiar with in the UK. The American Pest Control Authority board refused to approve this piece of work. The argument ran that the purpose of this creation was no longer its original intention (!) This was not deemed to be a real Banksy street work so the powers that be decided it was now “out of context”. A massive irony if ever there was one, the photography school feels.

The photography school wonders if this is egalitarianism at work?

It is rumoured Banksy won’t receive a penny from the sale of this piece of graffiti. Once it is auctioned he doesn’t have legal rights.  You might argue this is art at its most egalitarian (if you were generous). After all, the profit now belongs to those who hacked the artwork from the wall. There’s a whole thesis waiting to be written on this pertinent topic. perhaps someone from the photography school might care to write it.

Recently, another piece of Banksy’s work was removed from the wall of a building in Tottenham, North London where it was painted illegally. This Banksy mural, Slave Labour reached $1.1 million when it was sold. Therefore one can only imagine every piece is in jeopardy from thieves who stand to make a fortune.

However, Banksy remains silent, hiding his identity and remaining anonymous. This is part of his mystique, his attraction. His voice has never been heard and no one knows where he is at any time. Banksy’ work can now be found all over the world, particularly in Great Britain, Israel and the USA.

The photography school certainly has strong opinions

His work continues to critics, to highlight injustice. The furore over who owns what and the greed this street art provokes is in itself highly provocative. Still Banksy continues to place specific emphasis on anti-government pieces of graffiti focusing on CCTV live surveillance and government activity. He offers us commentary on contemporary life but seems unable to change the capitalist tendencies which are rife. What do you think? The photography school certainly has strong opinions.


banksy_life_is _beautiful

Banksy – Life is Beautiful

Further reading:  The story behind Banksy , Banksy disappears