The Market: Banksy to Brainwash

Like many in contemporary art Banksy and Mr. Brainwash utilize found imagery, appropriating recognizable images and manipulating them through context and juxtaposition. Borrowing and layering motifs from other artists has become a cornerstone of Mr. Brainwash’s oeuvre, allowing the viewer to engage in a game of eye spy. His eye-catching works are quite open in their frank allusions and irreverent appropriations. Banksy, however, has garnered international acclaim for his distinctive style of satirical street art and graffiti. His work is rich in dark humour and frequently captioned with subversive epigrams that provide poignant and potent commentaries on the social and political aspects of contemporary society.

Instantly gettable, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon is a perfect encapsulation of human emotion for the short-attention span of our social media age. The small girl reaching after her lost balloon is the poster-child of Banksy’s art coming originally from a graffiti mural first painted in London in 2002. Mr. Brainwash’s use of the image, in one of his wildly colorful and referential pieces, comes as no surprise. The LA based artist worked with Banksy to create the Exit Through the Gift Shop, a polarizing film that sparked many tantalizing theories about the mysterious British street artist.

Mr. Brainwash, Balloon Girl, 2020, 60 x 48 inches, Silkscreen, Mixed Media and Cement on Paper. Available at Russell Collection Fine Art, price upon request.

Banksy, Flag (Silver), 2006, framed: 25.5 x 35.5 inches, Silkscreen on silver Chromolux, Numbered edition out of 1000. Available at Russell Collection Fine Art, price upon request.

Balloon Girl by Mr. Brainwash features the Winged Angel of Keith Haring, the explosive comic book KAPOW1 of Lichtenstein, and the Warholian soup cans turned into vegetable-flavored aerosol sprays. The work takes full use of its compositional space, giving the viewer a look into the saturated, multi-layered, witty, and unique world of Mr. Brainwash. Another motif common to both artist’s is Basquiat’s tri-point crown. In Banksquiat Banksy repeats the image seven times, producing the outer ring of a ferris wheel. By combining his moniker with Basquiat, the anonymous artist calls upon the viewer to associate him with the late great Neo-Expressionist.

Through appropriation and prankster antics, Banksy has continued to shake up the world of Contemporary Art. A common name in the top auction houses, the artist’s record high sits at over $12,000,000 for a work on canvas. Newer to the scene, Mr. Brainwash’s works are already fetching over $50,000 on the secondary market. Prolific and expert markets, the two artists are definite fixtures in both Street Art and Contemporary Art history.

Banksy, Banksquiat, 2020, framed: 38 x 36 inches, Screenprint, Edition: 132/300. Available at Russell Collection Fine Art, price upon request.