I’m a little late to the game here, but I just found out about Banksy. Like, I had heard the name Banksy before, but that was about it, I never asked myself, who is Banksy? Why do I keep seeing his name popping up on the Internet? I never clicked through any of those links. And then a couple of weekends ago my brother was talking about Banksy and, not wanting to feel out of the loop, I did my best to pretend like I knew exactly what I was talking about, all while trying to steer the conversation toward another topic.
But now I know about Banksy. I mean, I still haven’t clicked on any links, but I get it, he’s a graffiti artist. He made some sort of a documentary. And nobody knows who he is. He’s like Batman, but without any of the crime-fighting. Actually, if you think about it, he’s actually a part of the problem, defacing public space.
Whatever, I’m not going to get into an argument about right and wrong. Even though I think that’s it wrong. Not that he’s doing it, but that it didn’t work for me. I heard that this guy was making millions of dollars, this whole mystery artist walking around town drawing little pictures of miniature men next to fire hydrants, I don’t get the appeal, of the art that is, I do get the appeal of the cash.
That’s why it appealed to me. That’s why I tried to get out there and tell everybody that I was Banksy. It made perfect sense, I mean, this guy doesn’t reveal his identity, and so I figured that all I had to do was study his drawings enough to make my own convincing Banksy-style replicas, and instead of fleeing into the shadows after I finished a piece, I’d turn around, I’d be wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a pair of sunglasses, I’d wait for the crowd to get really big, I’d even call the cops on myself, I’d be like, “Hello, police? There’s some guy spray-painting graffiti …” and then just as they’d come to handcuff me, I’d rip off the sweatshirt, I’d be wearing a t-shirt that said, “Banksy!” just, you know, to really drive home the point, and I’d scream out, “It’s me! I’m Banksy!”
But getting a crowd to gather, it’s not as easy as just wearing a bunch of clothes from Urban Outfitters and crouching down to tag a building. No, and I was just testing the waters, just kind of taking out the cans, I hadn’t even started painting yet, but nobody was looking at me, nobody stopped and said, “Are you Banksy?” No, not with the paint cans lined up in front of me, not when I started aggressively shaking the cans up and down, over and over again, each time the metal ball inside of the can hit the end I heard it as, “Bank – sy – Bank –sy.”
And finally, he wasn’t a cop, but he was some sort of a security guard, he came outside of the building and stood like a foot away from me. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t have to, he was just staring right at me, he had his security guard radio in his hand. It was like he was waiting for me to make a move. Well, a move further than just shaking the can up and down.
This went on for like a minute or two, finally I stopped shaking this one can, I held it out in front of me and slowly took off the top. The security guard remained unmoved, just watching me. I thought, OK, a game of chicken, huh? It’s not like this guy was a real cop or anything, and so I was game. I brought the can slowly to the wall, really slowly, like if this guy was going to make a move, I wanted to see just where that line was. But nothing. Maybe this guy was a fan. Maybe he would be the first person to witness me successfully steal the Banksy name.
Something had to happen, so finally I was like two inches away from the wall, and I made the smallest spray, I had the nozzle pressed down for less than a second. And that was it, the security guard wasn’t a fan, he kicked into action, that radio was out and he was shouting something, vandalism, graffiti, call the police. I panicked, I dropped the can, I didn’t even have a minute to pick anything up, I just screamed out, “I am Banksy!” as I booked it out of there.
And like three blocks, four blocks away, nobody was following me, I thought, if this guy’s really anonymous, how is he so rich? What if the police come and they dust my spray-paint can for prints, do I have to have my fingerprints already in the system to be identified? Should I commit some small infraction so the cops can link me to the paint? Could this still work out in my favor?
But then I thought about buying more spray-paint, about how it was so annoying the first time around, I went to this auto-parts store, all of the spray-paint was behind this cage on aisle seven, and I had to have a manager come out from around the back to unlock it. He was so impatient, he was just like, “Pick a color so I can get back to my job,” and I just wanted a minute, to think about which one I should buy, and this guy was so pushy, so I just chose like a royal blue, a sun-kissed yellow. I don’t know, I don’t really feel like going back, spending more money. I’ll just let Banksy be Banksy, for now, I guess.