The mysterious street artist Banksy is now well into his monthlong artist’s “residency” on the streets of New York, in which he’s been throwing up new pieces around the city daily.
He’s done quite a bit of viral marketing to promote the show, called “Better Out Than In,” using both his website and a new Instagram account. (The Twitter feed “banksyny,” now followed by more than 6,600 people and a heavy concentration of media, is not his.)
Before the Oct. 1 launch of his show, signs reading “Banksy October 2013” even started popping up around Los Angeles to stir up speculation that the show might be opening here.
The one thing Banksy – who guards his real identity more fiercely than, say, the last can of spray paint on Earth – has not done: an in-person interview. For all the obvious reasons.
On Thursday, the Village Voice ran an email interview of sorts with the street artist – but one of the most interesting things about the piece was how difficult it was to get to him.
“[C]ommunicating with the undercover art icon is no simple feat,” it pointed out.
The Voice "interviewed" Banksy through his publicist, Jo Brooks – yes, the anti establishment street artist has a public relations professional (who also reps a number of other British artists as well as Fatboy Slim, the Voice story said).
Through Brooks, Banksy declined requests for phone interviews and Skype interviews. Brooks got a list of questions from the Voice to send Banksy via email, but she warned the Voice that Banksy would likely “ignore several topics entirely.”
Banksy’s take on his New York show:
"The plan is to live here, react to things, see the sights – and paint on them," he wrote to his publicist … who then emailed the response to the Voice. "Some of it will be pretty elaborate, and some will just be a scrawl on a toilet wall."
On the tricky balance between commercial success and maintaining artistic integrity, Banksy said: "I started painting on the street because it was the only venue that would give me a show. Now I have to keep painting on the street to prove to myself it wasn't a cynical plan. Plus it saves money on having to buy canvases.”
Some of the questions that Banksy ignored were:
Does the burden of all the cloak-and-dagger [stuff] ever seem like too much to carry?
Did you ever envision it going on this long without cracking somewhere?
Has it gotten easier to operate this way, or harder?
How many people can you trust?
Banksy: We have a few more questions of our own. Our in-box is always open.
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