As Los Angeles gears up for the Academy Awards on February 27, street art from Britain’s famed Banksy has popped up around the city. Some speculate that these new works coincide with the Oscar ballots being due February 22 and a last minute push for Banksy’s fabulously entertaining, Oscar-nominated Documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” (see my review link below).
For those of you not familiar with Banksy, familiarize yourselves. Immediately. (Check out Banksy’s website, Banksy’s books on his art – a great one is Banksy “Wall and Piece,” and of course, this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop”). Banksy’s street art is political, thought-provoking, and fun. There’s also the mystique of Banksy, no one really knows who he is. He is rarely seen or when seen, he’s masked – the reason being that his street art, or graffiti isn’t exactly legal when it turns up in public places. Thus, it’s all the more exciting when one catches a glimpse of his art in person instead of online or in a book. It’s almost like catching a glimpse of the artist himself.
It’s thrilling news then that four new stencil works from Banksy appeared last week in LA. The four Banksy pieces can be viewed in their full, untouched versions on his website.
On a Vegas hotel and casino billboard located at Sunset and Laurel, Banksy created “Livin’ the Dream,” a debauched depiction of a couple of mice (Mickey & Minnie anyone?) partying it up with a scantily clad woman. The billboard company, CBS Outdoor, took the billboard down, even though, per Nicole Sperling of the LA Times, the Vegas casino and hotel group, the Light Group was happy that Banksy tagged their billboard and turned it into a piece of art.
The second work was seen on the side of a burnt-out building – “The Charlie Brown Firestarter’ was a depiction of Charlie Brown, with a cigarette and gas can. Per multiple reports and blogs, that work has been excavated and stolen.
Two final two pieces are still up for viewing (at least as of Sunday). One was on the back alley wall of an Urban Outfitters in Westwood (Westwood and Kinross) and is known as “Crayola Shooter” showing a child with a machine gun with crayolas as ammnunition (see photos in the above slide show). The second is of a “Dog Urinating” on a wall (see above slide show) in a parking area of Beverly Hills (9930 Little Santa Monica Blvd.)
It’s a fun excursion to go on a scavenger hunt to find Banksy’s street art. It’s also a unique guerrilla Oscar campaign from the mysterious Bansky, a man who can’t reveal his true identity, to remind Oscar voters that his film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” is up for Best Documentary Film at this year’s Academy Awards. Bravo Banksy!