You might know—or maybe you don’t.
But Banksy, the British street artist, has been visiting New York during the past month, posting on his website each day photos and video of work he’s left around the city. (The site is well worth a look. Maybe you’ll come to enjoy his art as much as I do.)
Admittedly, I fell in love with street art by way of Haiti. When we lived there, following the 2010 earthquake, I discovered the work of “Jerry,” the Banksy of Port-au-Prince, if you will. (His full name is Jerry Rosembert Moise.) Though Jerry claims his work is not political, much of it, in fact, is–some of it critiquing the international response to the disaster that leveled his city.
You might also be interested to know that his portrait of Michael Jackson made it into the New York Times.
Below are a few other photos of Jerry’s work. While taking them, I launched a love affair with graffiti and began a subsequent interest in Banksy.
As far as I know, Banksy has never made it to Haiti. Perhaps, he will one of these days.
In the meantime, however, his visit to New York is causing quite a stir. (But then, that’s what street art is meant to do. Right?)
The media has been covering his stay extensively, as Banksy is leaving his mark on the city–quite literally.
Some, but certainly not all, New Yorkers appreciate the work he’s left around town. One Brooklyn landlord even hired a guard to protect the piece left on her family-owned building. Still others consider his activity criminal.
But might Banksy travel to Ecuador?
(Obviously, I’m not aware that the man has been here, yet. My apologies, if I’ve missed his visit.)
Well, were he to come to Cuenca, the city where I live, here’s the work of other graffiti artists with which he’d need to compete.
Would he be up to the challenge?
Take a look and tell me what you think.
The final few images all appear on the same wall–one that’s on a stairway leading from el Centro to the Tomebamba River.
Mind you—many Cuencanos and aging expats alike don’t appreciate the graffiti that’s been left around town. I even read recently that a commission comprised of city officials and “former” taggers plans to paint public murals, anticipating they would replace the art I’ve shared above.
Now, this is a lovely mural. But it doesn’t interest me as much as the grittier stuff. I know not everyone agrees.
Still, let’s not sanitize the city to benefit a few graying grandmothers from North America. Let’s not white wash what’s cutting edge.
A Cuenca that looks like suburban Atlanta or Minneapolis would be far less engaging than the one we have now—
—or the city we’d have, were Banksy to visit.
Would his arrival here be a trick or street art treat?
What are your feelings about graffiti? Is there a lot of it where you live? Does graffiti merely deface public property, or is it the next big thing in artistic expression?