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BloodandIvory's avatar

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Banksy may be encouraging pedestrians to take a closer look at street vendors selling art. Yesterday, USA Today reported that three lucky tourists purchased paintings revealed to be created by the sensational graffiti artist for a mere $60 per canvas. The works are actually valued at over $40,000 each.

Banksy, whose identity remains anonymous, informed the public of the ploy via a video on his website. “Please note: This was a one off. The stall will not be there again today,” he wrote.

An elderly man assisted Banksy by manning the stall in Central Park, which contained about three dozen signed paintings. The booth, inauspiciously labeled “Spray Art” sold a total of eight paintings to three customers and made a total of $420 while open on Saturday.

The first customer, who arrived about four hours after the booth opened, bought two paintings after haggling the price down to $30 each. The next sale was two paintings at the posted price to a woman from New Zealand. A man from Chicago then bought 4 paintings “for the walls.” All eight paintings sold have a combined worth of over $200,000.
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I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.
That is a pretty cool, interesting move, I gotta say!
I like myself some Banksy... the girl with the red balloon is one of my favorite pieces of his.
David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Just look at how much Gaia is pricing some of their online items.
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David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Just look at how much Gaia is pricing some of their online items.

And on Gaia, they retain ownership, users are only leasing the items....
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David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Just look at how much Gaia is pricing some of their online items.


Just look at how much I'm not buying that Gaia stuff you are talking about.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but if 'beholding' his work was enough his booth would have sold out early in the morning. Instead he had a slow day with only 8 sales at pretty low prices. It was not until after it was announced it was his work that suddenly it's "OMG! What a steal! Those pieces were worth $200,000!"

That's a bit like a group of people hearing some new piece of music or song and saying, "Meh, it's okay but not that great". Then they are told the song was written and performed by (insert their favorite band) and suddenly it's, "Wow! What a great fantastic song!".

People looked at his work, yawned and walked on.
So again I say, not worth $200,000.
And same goes for many of Gaia's recently overpriced stuff. Though to be fair to Gaian artists many of them are pretty good. In fact in both staff and user art I've seen quite a few pictures I'd take any day over the Banksy stuff they showed in that news piece.
David2074
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David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Just look at how much Gaia is pricing some of their online items.


Just look at how much I'm not buying that Gaia stuff you are talking about.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but if 'beholding' his work was enough his booth would have sold out early in the morning. Instead he had a slow day with only 8 sales at pretty low prices. It was not until after it was announced it was his work that suddenly it's "OMG! What a steal! Those pieces were worth $200,000!"

That's a bit like a group of people hearing some new piece of music or song and saying, "Meh, it's okay but not that great". Then they are told the song was written and performed by (insert their favorite band) and suddenly it's, "Wow! What a great fantastic song!".

People looked at his work, yawned and walked on.
So again I say, not worth $200,000.
And same goes for many of Gaia's recently overpriced stuff. Though to be fair to Gaian artists many of them are pretty good. In fact in both staff and user art I've seen quite a few pictures I'd take any day over the Banksy stuff they showed in that news piece.


Exactly. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." It doesn't matter whether or not if I agree that Banksy's works are worth it or not.
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None of those look like anything I would want.
BloodandIvory's avatar

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David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Just look at how much Gaia is pricing some of their online items.


no kidding, right? stare rolleyes
David2074
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David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Just look at how much Gaia is pricing some of their online items.


Just look at how much I'm not buying that Gaia stuff you are talking about.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but if 'beholding' his work was enough his booth would have sold out early in the morning. Instead he had a slow day with only 8 sales at pretty low prices. It was not until after it was announced it was his work that suddenly it's "OMG! What a steal! Those pieces were worth $200,000!"

That's a bit like a group of people hearing some new piece of music or song and saying, "Meh, it's okay but not that great". Then they are told the song was written and performed by (insert their favorite band) and suddenly it's, "Wow! What a great fantastic song!".

People looked at his work, yawned and walked on.
So again I say, not worth $200,000.
And same goes for many of Gaia's recently overpriced stuff. Though to be fair to Gaian artists many of them are pretty good. In fact in both staff and user art I've seen quite a few pictures I'd take any day over the Banksy stuff they showed in that news piece.


As an illustrator myself, to be fair, Banksy isn't an illustrator, like most Anime convention or Gaia staff artists. He's a graffiti-based guerilla artist, with both fine arts and very graphic design sensibilities, making personal social and political commentaries.

Banksy doesn't use much complex perspectives or backdrops. They're silhouette-based, meant to look flat, which gives them an almost iconic and symbolic feeling. In contrast, most anime/manga art (and furthermore, comics, concept art, etc) focus on dynamic perspective, pleasing compositions, value patterns and unified color, and most of all, an implication of story-telling. This latter aspect is not usually the goal of fine artists or graphic designers (although it is possible for an artist to dabble in ALL of these- their work between them will be different as such, though there may be unified themes -- one example is another guerilla artist, Ron English, who does political fine arts and illustrations too).
The mediums are also entirely different - illustrators usually do digital art, or traditional medium as watercolors (illustrators don't typically use oil/acrylic for illustrations, though they may do so for fine art pieces). Banksy's is spray paint on street walls.

Overall - his goal and direction is very different from an illustrator, and so the comparison is not fair, and in my eyes, is a lot like making a comparison between Jack Kirby and Jackson Pollock.

Second, to say that because people walked by his art without paying much, doesn't mean his art isn't beautiful or valuable (outside of monetary). There are a lot of reasons why this method doesn't "sell":
1) For one, to me, it wasn't very clear if these were originals or prints.
2) The man selling it was not Banksy himself. Even if you recognize the art, you could easily assume the guy is just trying to sell his stuff without Banksy's permission, if it isn't indicated.
3) Although he is the most famous street artist, the average person doesn't pay attention to art in general, and may not know of Banksy.
4) You are right most people may only care about the monetary worth of the art piece, more than the art itself. I've seen this reflected a lot (including a Chinese dating show my dad was watching... this artist bought a few of his pieces as gifts, and one of the women asked outright "which one is the most expensive?" )
5) And most crucially, the street environment is not usually a place to sell things, when people are hustling by to get to work, school, etc. There are certain perceptions and reputations of street artists that they're just people trying to "make it".

...In fact, since you bought up music, I would very much argue that Banksy's move here is VERY much comparable to a similar experiment of violinist Joshua Bell, conducted by a columnist at The Washington Post (this won him a Pulitzer Prize). Bell played a 45-minute performance in a the Metro subway... of the 1000+ people who passed him by, only 7 people stopped to listen to him, only 1 recognized him. He finished the set with no applause or anything... he earned $32 (excluding the $20 from the guy who recognized him). The two prior nights, he played the same set to a sold out show in Boston (seats averaged to $100 each)... the violin he played on is worth $3.5 million. You can see that performance here.
The point of the experiment was "part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? "

Lastly, as you've pointed out, personal taste is definitely a huge factor as well. I'm sure you might appreciate Ron English more, who uses more classical painting techniques in his work... although some of his stuff is actually not much different from Banksy. Case in point, just Google image his work (which is complex and very finely rendered) and compare it to this simple guerilla piece of his here. I think intent is important to think about particularly in that way.
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David2074
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David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Just look at how much Gaia is pricing some of their online items.


Just look at how much I'm not buying that Gaia stuff you are talking about.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but if 'beholding' his work was enough his booth would have sold out early in the morning. Instead he had a slow day with only 8 sales at pretty low prices. It was not until after it was announced it was his work that suddenly it's "OMG! What a steal! Those pieces were worth $200,000!"

That's a bit like a group of people hearing some new piece of music or song and saying, "Meh, it's okay but not that great". Then they are told the song was written and performed by (insert their favorite band) and suddenly it's, "Wow! What a great fantastic song!".

People looked at his work, yawned and walked on.
So again I say, not worth $200,000.
And same goes for many of Gaia's recently overpriced stuff. Though to be fair to Gaian artists many of them are pretty good. In fact in both staff and user art I've seen quite a few pictures I'd take any day over the Banksy stuff they showed in that news piece.


Exactly. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." It doesn't matter whether or not if I agree that Banksy's works are worth it or not.


I get what you are saying. Something is 'worth' what people are wiling to pay.
I'm still of the opinion that his works are hugely overpriced. Some of them are interesting though.
You might be interested in this article. Some of his stuff has sold for over a million dollars.
Top 25 most expensive Banksy art sales
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Got to say he's not my favorite artist but kudos to him for trying to highlight the fact that people selling art on the street like that can and do make some attention worthy stuff.
Heck in my old high school some of the pottery was high enough grade that you could easily use it at home. Similar hand made one of a kind stuff would have easily sold for $20-30 but the student sold it, plus all the soup you could eat, for $5 and were lucky to sell it. At least the proceeds went to a good cause, food pantry.

Maybe this will make people stop and actually look.
David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even sometimes crap can worth 200 grand.
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ALTAN50
David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even sometimes crap can worth 200 grand.


While that's true his own experiment showed that most folks don't think his work is that amazing. It indicates people are paying for the name of the artist, not their true opinion of the actual quality of the art. Without the name most folks (at least that day) apparently didn't even think it was worth $30-60.

Now I agree that what something is "worth" will always be what at least some folks are willing to pay. I just think Banksy is very, VERY fortunate to have found folks willing to pay many thousands / millions for his works.
David2074
ALTAN50
David2074
I think $60 (or less) is closer to an accurate price for that art.
I don't see anything in that booth to add up to $200,000.
It sounds like a classic case of "He's famous so his crap is automatically worth tons".
I've purchased much better art at anime conventions for a lot less money. Prints were several dollars, those who were selling originals obviously sold them for more but certainly not anywhere near an average of $25,000 each.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even sometimes crap can worth 200 grand.


While that's true his own experiment showed that most folks don't think his work is that amazing. It indicates people are paying for the name of the artist, not their true opinion of the actual quality of the art. Without the name most folks (at least that day) apparently didn't even think it was worth $30-60.

Now I agree that what something is "worth" will always be what at least some folks are willing to pay. I just think Banksy is very, VERY fortunate to have found folks willing to pay many thousands / millions for his works.


Well he took the risk with his graffiti exposure. However I still think his graffiti will eventually cost the taxpayer money as some copycat will do the same to everywhere with their graffiti.

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