Famous Banksy Graffiti
The following images represent some of the most famous Banksy graffiti works the artist has created over his career.
While the identity of Banksy remains elusive, his artwork provides some of the most powerful commentary on social and political issues in our time. Fans seek out his artwork on city streets all around the world, with some hoping to discover a new creation by the street artist.
12 famous Banksy graffiti works and iconic images
Here is a list of Banksy’s most iconic works, what they mean, and their locations.
1. Balloon Girl (Girl with Balloon)
The ballon girl is among the most recognizable (and repeated) Banksy themes. The little girl reaching for her lost balloon first appeared in London’s South Bank in 2002 on the Waterloo Bridge.
In Banksy’s signature stencil-painted style, a small child watches as her heart-shaped balloon slowly floats away, just out of reach of her open hand. Off to the side in the darkened and weathered stone, Banksy adds his commentary, “There Is Always Hope.”
In 2018, Banksy made headline news with a similar balloon girl painting for sale at a Sotheby’s auction. The auctioneer had just gaveled the artwork sold, when to the shock of everyone in attendance the canvas with the iconic artwork began moving downward within the frame. A shredder hidden behind the frame cut the iconic artwork into several thin strips, then stopped.
Even after this shocking destruction, the buyer agreed to pay the full auction price (more than $1.3 million!). And the work now has a more appropriate title, “Love is in the Bin.”
2. One Nation Under CCTV
Location: Newman Street, London England
One of Banksy’s largest outdoor works is titled “One Nation Under CCTV,” a mural painted on the side of a Royal Mail building in London in 2007. It depicts a child in a red hoody and backpack climbing a ladder with paint roller in hand. Off in the corner, a cop and his dog keep a close eye. A CCTV security camera is mounted to the wall close by, providing a built-in punchline to the large-format social commentary.
In 2008, the city council for the district of Westminster in London ruled the work be removed.
3. Armored Dove of Peace (Peace Dove)
Location: Caritas and Manger Streets, Bethlehem
Banksy’s statement about peace is on stark display on a building in Bethlehem. The painting is part of his series of work done in the disputed West Bank in Israel, commenting on the area’s geopolitical conflicts.
The 2005 mural depicts a white dove carrying an olive branch and wearing a military vest. Over its chest is positioned a red target.
Iconic and famous Banksy graffiti
4. Sweep It Under the Carpet
Location: North London
In many of his works, Banksy uses existing features of a building, wall, or existing object to enhance his painting. The artistic effect is a form of trompe l’oeil (meaning ‘trick of the eye’) and has been used for centuries by artists and painters.
On a brick building on Chalk Fun Road in North London, Banksy painted a maid lifting back the carpet to toss her sweepings where no one will see them.
The 2006 mural is said to be Banksy’s visual commentary on the western world’s negligence in dealing with important social issues like the AIDS epidemic.
5. Umbrella Girl (Rain Girl)
Location: New Orleans
In 2008, Banksy set his sights on hurricane-ravaged New Orleans for a burst of his graffiti commentary. The city was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and bracing for the approach of Hurricane Gustav.
On the corner of a boarded-up building, Banksy painted a striking black-and-white image of a girl holding an umbrella. She is drenched by a deluge of rain, but the rain is coming down from inside her umbrella.
Banksy often uses children in his imagery as a symbol of innocence in the face of authority and power. In this case, he makes a statement about the uncontrollable forces of nature the city been forced to endure.
Famous Banksy graffiti
6. Girl and Mouse (Girl on Stool)
Location: New Orleans
In this Banksy work, we see how he cleverly uses the natural decay and texture in urban structures to inspire his paintings.
We’re drawn in by the striking image of a girl in distress, sitting atop a stool and upset by something below. At the base of the wall sits a mouse or rat, a common theme in many of Banksy’s works. It is made from an area of plaster that has fallen away from the building’s facade. With the simple addition of ears, whiskers, and a tail, Banksy makes the negative space into a recognizable mouse.
You can still see this image from Banksy’s 2008 New Orleans tour on North Villere Street, however, the image has faded considerably.
7. Anarchy Rat
Location: Sloane Square, London
Banksy’s most famous subject matter is probably his signature rats. The prolific creatures are small and usually only in one or two colors. They are created quickly with a can of spray paint and a stencil.
You’ll usually see them holding a sign with a message or tagged with a slogan of Banksy’s social commentary. In fact, Banksy began his graffiti career and made a name for himself stenciling rats with political messages on the streets of England. The rat artwork featured messages like “Our Time Will Come” and “Because I’m Worthless.”
Some sugggest Banksy uses rats to represent the unnoticed and overlooked members of society. Like graffiti itself, this population is often hidden away or removed, but they are never truly gone, they just pop up in other locations.
More famous Banksy graffiti
8. Flower Thrower (Rage)
Location: West Bank, Bethlehem
This iconic image appeared in Jerusalem in 2003, a part of Banksy’s commentary on the situation in the Middle East.
In this large mural, a masked man takes an aggressive stance reminiscent of a protester seen in many of the region’s conflicts. But instead of something dangerous, he prepares to throw a bouquet of flowers from his hand in a gesture of peace.
This famous image is featured in Banksy’s 2005 book, “Wall and Piece.”
9. Fridge Kite
Location: St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans
Banksy’s library of work includes many images of children and childhood innocence. In his 2008 series of murals in New Orleans, Banksy included a painting of a boy flying a kite that is actually a refrigerator.
Viewers speculate the image represents the social issues of childhood hunger and the power of imagination and hope despite their bleak existence. The work no longer exists.
10. Season’s Greetings
Location: Port Talbot, Wales
During the 2018 holiday season Banksy painted a clever testament to the current state of our environment with his mural, “Season’s Greetings.”
On one side of a cinder block garage in the industrial town of Port Talbot, Wales, we see the street artist’s illustration of a joyful holiday scene: a child with his tongue out enjoying the snowfall. But around the corner of the building, we discover the ‘snow’ is actually toxic ash falling from a burning dumpster.
11. Escaping Prisoner
Location: Berkshire, England
In 1895, Irish poet, playwright, and social commentator Oscar Wilde was imprisoned at Reading Gaol (Reading Jail) in Berkshire, England for “gross indecency” with other men.
As a tribute to the famous writer, Banksy painted on the exterior wall of the compound an escaping convict in striped prison garb. The man repels down the brick wall using a long strip of paper coming from a typewriter for his escape.
In a recent Instagram video post, Banksy shows how he created the work, mimicking cult-favorite TV painter Bob Ross.
Famous Banksy graffiti – FAQs
1. Who is Banksy?
Banksy is a street artist from England who keeps his identity secret because tagging graffiti on public and privately-owned buildings and structures is illegal.
He uses spray paint and stencils to create works that serve as a commentary on politics and society, often with a dark sense of humor.
Many believe Banksy’s real name is Robin Gunningham, who used the pseudonym “Robin Banks” for a time and eventually became known as “Banksy.”
2. Where is Banksy from?
He grew up in Easton, Bristol and later moved to London, England around 2000.
3. Where are Banksy paintings located?
You can find Banksy’s artwork all over the world, painted on structures like buildings, streets, walls, and bridges.
Famous Banksy graffiti – A list of Banksy Works
Here is a list of some notable Banksy works since his career began in the 1990s.
- The Mild Mild West (1999)
- Flying Copper (2003)
- Ballerina with Action Man Parts Corrupted Oil Jerry (2003)
- Parachuting Rat (2003)
- Space Girl and Bird (2003)
- Kissing Coppers (2004)
- Untitled (2004)
- Fragile Silence The Drinker Show Me the Monet (2005)
- Well Hung Lover (2006)
- Self Portrait One Nation Under CCTV (2008)
- Devolved Parliament (2009)
- Forgive Us Our Trespassing Follow Your Dreams (2010)
- Cardinal Sin (2011)
- Slave Labour (2012)
- Better Out Than In (2013)
- Art Buff (2014)
- Spy Booth (2014)
- The Son of a Migrant from Syria (2015)
- Civilian Drone Strike (2017)
- Love is in the Bin (2018)
- Valentine’s Banksy (2020)
- Painting for Saints (2020)
- If You Don’t Mask, You Don’t Get (2020)
- Hula Hooping Girl (2020)
Famous Banksy graffiti – Latest work:
- A Great British Spraycation (2021)
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