Responding to Banksy’s Advertising Rant

Posted on: March 2nd, 2012 at 10:29 am by

Banksy’s verbose missive on advertising – plucked from his books Cut it Out and Wall and Piece – has sure incited the masses. One Boogie commenter asserts that it’s a futile attempt to salvage some street cred in the face of “selling out.” Others see it as more of an ill-contrived rant with a convoluted punchline. Such is the case with Craig Ward, who “stayed up all night” crafting a point-by-point response to Banksy on his blog Words Are Pictures.

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The response is quite lengthy, but definitely worth a read. We’ve published some excerpts for you here:

Allow me to say from the offset that I don’t much care for the advertising industry as a whole either, though having worked at several agencies in my career (as a typographer), I’ve done OK out of it. I live in New York these days but when I lived in London I used to see your work all the time. I didn’t ask to see it – in much the same way as you don’t ask to see advertising – and I never much cared for it either.

Now, as far as I see it, the very act of putting your work in the public eye – say on walls, street corners, in alleyways and underpasses etc – is, effectively advertising it by virtue of people being able to see it at all. Exposure is advertising.  And unless I’m much mistaken, the only product you’re selling is yourself.

Another criticism often leveled at advertising is that it steals from artists and plagiarises ideas, where as your work is merely ‘inspired’ by one artist; Blek Le Rat. Which I guess is OK. And the fact that you’ve made a comfortable living from it is also fine. I feel like it’s a convenient irony though that the only people who can now afford to own your work are the ad-land Creative Directors and City boys that you so eagerly rail against, while at the same time selling your own brand of rebellious, anti-establishment cool.

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