In which Kana unwittingly opens the Pandora’s box of all my thoughts about art philosophy. I’m sorry. You did nothing to deserve this.
Huge thanks to Kana at The Halfhazard Wanderer for tagging me! I love her blog so much. Her stories are full of wit and humor, and she draws the cutest little pictures to go along with her posts. I was so excited to be tagged! This is my first tag on my blog, and my love for analyzing art is only rivaled by my love for analyzing sound devices in poetry.
So, let’s get to it.
- Copy the piece of art given to you by your nominator into the post, as well as these rules
- Analyze the piece of art given to you and what it means to you (you can be as abstract as you like)
- Nominate 5 people to analyze another piece of art of your choice.
This piece is by Banksy, a famous British graffiti artist. First I’m going to analyze the art as it is, pretending that I don’t know anything about who created it. Then I’ll
critique the heck out of analyze Banksy’s art as a whole. Remember, this is intended to spark a discussion! You don’t have to agree with everything I say.
My first reaction is: cool! It’s creative of the artist to extend the double yellow line up the wall and make it into a little doodle. It adds a pop of cheer to the ordinary cityscape.
Then you see the man in the corner of the wall. He’s seated on a yellow can of paint, holding a roller with yellow paint on it. He looks tired and grumpy–not the kind of guy you’d expect to go around painting flowers on walls. My interpretation is that the man’s job is to paint the double yellow lines, but he was tired of the same old thing. In a burst of defiance rather than cheerfulness, he kept going and painted a flower. Now he’s sitting on the can holding his roller, like, “Yeah, I painted a yellow flower on the wall. You got a problem with that?”
It’s not a bad painting. The message stops you and makes you go, “Huh.” Nothing great or especially beautiful about it, but it’s not bad.
That’s more than I can say about everything else Banksy represents.
Banksy is a good example of middlebrow art. His work is ironic, easily accessible, pseudo-intellectual, and unsubtle. People who know nothing about art think that if they like Banksy, they are smart, so they collect his work as a status symbol. Some of his work isn’t even art, such as this message painted on the back of a truck. (Warning: contains mild profanity.)
Is it funny? Yes. Is it true? Sure. Is it art? No.
Since the DaDa art movement in the 1910s, people have tried to “push the boundaries” of art. Most notably, Marcel Duchamp turned a urinal upside-down, signed it with a pen name, called it “Fountain,” and entered it in an art show.
That was in 1917, and maybe it was clever and original back then. But 100 years later, we still haven’t seen the end of this. The problem was, Duchamp’s work was completely misinterpreted. Duchamp’s point was that people would accept anything as art, even if it wasn’t; not that anything could be art. As a result, “artists” are pooping in cans (warning: profanity), putting a glass of water on a shelf and calling it an oak tree, and having people cut off their clothes. This stuff goes in art museums and is worth ridiculous amounts of money, while talented freelancers struggle because they’re not “original” or “edgy” enough.
Maybe Banksy isn’t quite as bad as that, but his ironic, irreverent work continues in that same vein. Much of his work hits you over the head with a message. Some has no meaning–it’s just trying to provoke a reaction.
That said, I don’t hate all Banksys; I actually like the yellow flower piece. Banksy has a few good pieces every now and then. I just think that, overall, he’s perpetuating the 100-year-old “pushing the boundaries” thing. The boundaries are nice and pushed by now, thank you. Can we please go back to creating beautiful art?
OK, rant over! Once again, thanks to Kana for tagging me. I tag…
And here’s the piece I’d like you to share your thoughts about! (Note: You don’t have to analyze the heck out of it if you don’t want to. I went way overboard!)
And I’d love to hear your thoughts about my interpretation of this Banksy piece and Banksy in general. Do you agree with me? Do you think I’m completely wrong? Am I too cynical? Let me know in comments!
Featured image background from Unsplash.