The Banksy Lesson
The lesson and perhaps inspiration to take from Banksy is that he is playing by his own rules. Like other graffiti artists, he paints on the street, but unlike other artists, he has consciously created his own mystique. By remaining anonymous, he continues to engage the public in a guessing game. Also, his content is often touching on issues of social and political injustice, and this is something that many people can respond to. Rather than have images that are decorative, his work is engaging the viewer and asking them to use their minds and agree with him or not. That is a provocative idea that brings the viewer into his fold.
The latest effort in marketing himself was quite brilliant. In his 2010 film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which I strongly recommend seeing, he cleverly uses another filmmaker’s footage of him and other street artists to document the whole genre of street-art painting. But he also skewers the art world by presenting an artist that had never had a show before, who calls himself Mr. Brainwash, and is a total unknown. Like Banksy and Hirst, he had a warehouse-type opening that was a success. He is profiled later in this chapter.
The method of Banksy and other artists who mount their own shows in abandoned warehouses is becoming more popular, and it is one of the new methods that you should consider. You can remake the idea in any way you wish, but in this economy, there are more empty spaces than ever, and it is worth considering. You don’t have to mount a giant solo show; a group show in an empty commercial space can work even better because all the artists will have their own mailing list, and it can generate even more traffic that way.
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here. To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.