The Art of Banksy

by - 3:00 PM


It started on the streets of Ljubljana. I'd seen some murals here and there. Then someone recommended me the Ljubljana Graffiti Tour. I did the tour and fell in love with street art. From graffiti to stickers to stencils, anything slightly out of the ordinary that gives a city color is pure awesomeness to me. I didn't know shit about it, but I soon learned about some of the big names: London Police, Space Invader and of course Banksy. I became low key obsessed with the latter's work. When I saw that there'd be an exposition of his work in Antwerp, I couldn't stay at home. A Belgian road trip was planned. First stop: The Art of Banksy in Stadsfeestzaal Antwerpen!

First some practical information, since that's what good bloggers are supposed to do when they write about stuff like this. I think. I don't know actually. I was too focused on the art to have a plan for this post when I visited the exhibition.
Anyway, the exhibition is on the second floor of the Stadsfeestzaal, a super fancy-looking shopping mall with loads of gold and pretty staircases. Not the place you'd expect a street art exhibition to take place, but that contrast adds a little something to the experience in my opinion.
There are over 80 pieces on display, curated by Steve Lazarides. Don't worry if that name means nothing to you, the guy was Banksy's agent and honestly, that's all you need to know. It's not like it's suddenly all about him. No, this exhibition is just about art, just the way I like it: photography allowed, thought-provoking and set in a perfect atmosphere.

I arrived quite early, which was a good thing, because loads of people rushed in about ten minutes after I'd entered the first dark room of the exhibition. That probably sounds weird, me calling it a dark room, but let me explain: of course there are lights aimed at the art, but the rooms in which the art is at display are quite dark. The walls are decorated with dripping paint or completely covered in prints of art work. Pretentious as this remark may sound, I feel like this all added to the feel of being out on the street, discovering street art the way it should be discovered.


Now here's the thing about the art: it's awesome, but you probably already know that. Banksy is a phenomenon, even my mom knows his work. In a regular exhibition however, I wouldn't think about the art I'm looking at. I took art history classes in high school and every time I had to think about the meaning behind a painting it went a little like: "This painting means a lot. The artist uses [insert color] as a symbol for [insert morbid idea] and the composition shows us that [insert completely made-up life lesson]." Usually I just wrote down a load of nonsense, because a Michelango just doesn't spark my interest. I like to think about the state of the world, politics, society and how it demands us to conform to it (yes, I know I'm weird). Banksy's work is ideal for that.


Do I need to say more? The art speaks for itself. If you don't like rats it's might not be your cup of tea though, since Banksy enjoys painting rats. I could give you an in-depth analysis of his choices and all that stuff, but to me that's not important. The most important thing for me was that his art, besides making me think about our society, also managed to inspire me. Before I visited the exhibition I'd spent an hour ranting to my friend about how I don't like the way society pushes me down career paths and into certain behaviour. I don't like how we are made to follow the rules and view the world through the same lens as everyone else. Street art offers me an escape from those things. Banksy's shown me I can use it to make my voice heard. If vandalizing is a way to change the world, make it a better looking place and maybe change a few people's minds along the way, then maybe I should give it a shot.


So yeah, all the pretentious words aside, I definitely enjoyed it a lot. Still there's one thing I didn't like all that much: I took my time to see all the art, took pictures and even vlogged in the middle of the exhibition, and after all that I was still done with the entire thing within an hour. Oh, and you know those fancy picture books they usually sell in a museum? I couldn't find one at the gift shop. That made me quite sad, but I bought one when I came home, so no real problem there. Besides, small as both gift shop and exhibition may be, they'll fill you with so much creativity you'll want to pick up a spray can right away. That more than makes up for the lack of a fancy picture book, I'd say.


One last thing before I leave and let you wonder if I'm really going to vandalize my hometown because of an art exhibition: if you ever get the chance to see Banksy's work at display and you are in any way interested in street art, don't doubt, buy a ticket and GO!

x Envy

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16 Fellow Ramblers

  1. You gotta love Banksy. As kids, we had no idea graffiti was illegal until it was pointed out to us-we just thought it was art that had mysteriously birthed itself on the side of a building or something :D


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    1. When I was a kid I just thought graffiti was pretty. Except for some of the tags. Sadly, I live in a town where most graffiti artists only scribble their name, not even in a fancy font or anything. Still it's interesting to see the same tags pop up all over town

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  2. How awesome! I love Banksy so much- jealous you got to go see his work in person. That's so rad!

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    1. The exhibit is touring the world, so maybe you'll get a chance to see it too!

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  3. First of all, I LOVE your blog! I love your header - I did a lot of work on skylines in art in school and I did a HUGE chalk skyline similar to the one in your header (: I absolutely love Banksy. His work just represents so much and I am insanely jealous you got to go to this exhibition! xx

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    1. Thank you so much! A friend made it for me, he's the best ^-^
      I never realised street art represented anything until I learnt more about Banksy. It may be vandalism, but it's very thought-provoking vandalism.

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  4. Banksy is great. I watched the documentary on him and was enthralled. I actually saw his piece in the back of the moving van since someone in Vegas bought it and put it out for Life is Beautiful. I love seeing art everywhere so I'm jealous you got to go to his exhibit! :D

    Single Vegas Girl
    http://singlevegasgirl.blogspot.com

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    1. I didn't know there was a documentary, but now I have to watch it! I'm so jealous you got to see a piece in Vegas! I'll have to travel for hours to exhibits to see street art. We're seriously lacking in street art culture over here...

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  5. I think it's awesome that this exhibition exists and LOVED your post about it! Hopefully some day I'll get the chance to see his work xx

    Katie | lifewithktkinnes.com

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    1. Thank you! I hope you get the chance to see Banksy's work too, it's amazing.

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  6. Ahhhh I am so jealous I love anksy so much he is just incredible. I missed out on his fairground but heard he just opened a hotel in Bethleham! X
    Lola Mia // www.lolitabonita.co.uk

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    1. That's right, he opened a hotel that's facing the Segregation Wall. It's filled with his art and if I had time and money I'd probably be there right now :P

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  7. I love Banksy! Looks like it's a great exhibition!
    Sam xox
    samslifeadventures.wordpress.com

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    1. It's awesome. Probably the best exhibition I've ever visited!

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  8. I honestly have the urge to cover my city in art too (or vandalize as some people call it), and it was so nice to find a post written by someone who feels the same inspiration. Great story!

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    1. Thank you! We're not the only ones. If I have to vandalize to make the world look a little better, then that's what I'll do

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