is less of an artist than a global phenomenon. He’s an anonymous graffiti superhero whose identity is endlessly debated by armchair conspiracy theorists; a political gadfly, weighing in on everything from the Israeli treatment of Palestinians to Brexit; and pure art-market gold, with recent work selling at auction for upwards of $1 million.
“He speaks for a generation,” said Maeve Doyle, artistic director of London’s Maddox Gallery
. She’s fascinated by the way Banksy—once a sort of creative outlaw—has now been fully embraced by the straightlaced establishment. “As with everything in the art world, counterculture eventually becomes mainstream,” she said. But such populism isn’t always a bad thing. “If you go to Mexico, mechanics
will know Banksy,” Doyle continued. “It’s wonderful.”
Banksy’s career has been marked by experimentation, risk, and a daring playfulness. His stencil-heavy motifs—of rats, cops, and kids with balloons—have simply become part of a shared cultural vocabulary, reproduced (and ripped off) with abandon. While it’s exceedingly difficult to narrow down a handful of works that define his aesthetic, we present below a selection of six projects that capture the artist’s hugely influential practice.