Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Banksy Knock Offs - Part 1:


The final words on Banksy . . .  

Following an earlier post on street art, which mentioned some of the works of Banksy, the anonymous (and now flavour of the day) English street artist, I received the following enquiry:

I'm a yr 9 Student studying Art am just wondering if you could tell me the size of Banksy's "Follow Your Dreams Cancelled" Artwork on Essex St, Chinatown, Boston.

I don't know the size but it appears to be life size, as this photo shows:

These photos also give an idea of size and show how a Banksy work ends up in some areas:

An article in the online Daily Mail a couple of days ago  is of interest.  It shows photographs of the recreation of some of Banksy’s famed works, using real people, in other words, real life knock offs.

The article is at:

with reader comments ranging from “fantastic” to “awful...lifeless”.

I’m in two minds, I found it interesting, clever, but wondered why Nick Stern, the photographer, bothered.  Surely the whimsy and value of Banksy’s work lies in its originality and the messages that are contained within the works.  I agree with those who see Stern’s work as lacking impact and meaning, that they are hollow copies.  My view may not, however, be your view.  I am also posting it because it highlights the uniqueness of Banksy's works and the meanings in .

Stern has previously recreated Banksy’s works, see:

Following is the article with accompanying photographs and the article’s captions for the photographs.  Becuase of the length I have split it into two parts, part 2 tomorrow.

Spot the difference! Banksy's most iconic graffiti recreated using human models as life mimics art

Graffitists the world over aspire to follow in the footsteps of renowned street artist Banksy. 

However, one photographer is taking a different tack entirely and bringing Banksy’s iconic works to life by using real people and objects in place of the originals.  

As a second instalment to his successful You Are Not Banksy series British born photographer Nick Stern has recreated 11 more of the graffiti star’s most famous works.  

Recreation: LA-based photographer Nick Stern is bringing Banksy to life using models and props to recreate the graffiti artist's iconic images. Stern added sprinkler pipe and electrical fittings to a cut down gun to make the gun look as close as possible to a M-60 machine gun LA-based photographer Nick Stern has made good on his word and released 11 additions to his "You Are Not Banksy" series. These new recreations of Banksy graffiti starring real people and objects in place of the drawn originals include an appropriation of an appropriation -- Stern's version of Banksy's version of Keith Haring's barking dog. Stern tells Huff Post Culture he was extra industrious this time, making a machine gun from a sprinkler tube.

Original: Banksy's original shows a young boy holding a machine gun with colourful crayola guns as ammunition

 Take three: This is Stern's recreation of Banksy's take on one of the most famous images from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction

 Stick 'em up: Banksy created this work spoofing John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in the famously violent 1994 cult film  

Determined to create photos as true to the originals as possible, Stern spent weeks scouring the internet to find the right costumes and props. 

Each frame takes two to three hours to shoot but it is finding the props and costumes that is the time-consuming part. I spent weeks searching the internet,’ he said.  

For items too-costly to buy or rent, Stern makes the prop himself.  

He managed to recreate the M-60 machine gun the little boy is holding in Banksy's original by sawing down a similar gun and rebuilding it with sprinkler tube and electrical fittings.  

While he is chuffed with image of the boy with the gun, he told MailOnline that the Pulp Fiction recreation is another favourite.

Life mimicking art: Stern managed to get a real Navy SEAL, holding a paintbrush, to pose for him for this recreation of Banksy's piece, bottom

 Risky: Stern confessed to using a step ladder and editing it out to capture this shot, above, but says he tries to use Photoshop as little as possible

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