Review Of Mobile Lovers Painted By Banksy

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Art work can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. One person may look at a piece art and fall in love with it while others may have feels such as outrage, disinterest, or even sadness. It is always interesting to me to hear the story behind why an artist chose to create a particular piece of work, but I also like to look at the art and find my own meaning. The piece of art that I fine intriguing and captivating is a piece calls “Mobile Lovers” painted by Banksy.

When I look at this piece I see something that reflects emotions within. Due to my work schedule I have not been able to visit a museum, therefore I used the internet to search for a piece that captivated me as soon as I saw it. “Mobile Lovers” is located in “Bristol Museum and Art Gallery”, which is in Southwestern England. However, this piece, done by Banksy, was originally painted on the door of a youth club, also located in Bristol, England. Banksy’s style of art stencil graffiti, which is typically considered to be illegal, is art that is done in a public space (Decker and Curry.) Graffiti art is an ancient form of art dating back as far as 13,000 to 9,000 BC where graffiti was found in caves now called, “The Cave of Hands” in Santa Cruz, Argentina. The use of spray paint in believed to have first stared in Philadelphia at the start of the 1960’s. Here in the United States Graffiti art began to be an eye sore to some, resulting in a crackdown in New York by the mayor in 1972. The first stencil graffiti noted was found in Paris, France in 1981, by artist Blek le Rat, and soon began to spread around the world.

Banksy is a British artist, who in 2010, was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the world (Ellsworth-Jones). One of the things I find interesting about this artist is that he chooses to remain anonymous to the public. I feel like this choice might actually be some of the fascination that his followers have with his work. I particularly love a quote Banksy made while being interview once: “I’ve learnt from experience that a painting isn’t finished when you put down your brush — that’s when it starts.

The public reaction is what supplies meaning and value. Art comes alive in the arguments you have about it” (Kakutani). I believe, as they say, that are is “in the eye of the beholder,” so I have to agree with this quote in that as people look at a piece of art they may see different things, giving it different meanings. “Mobile Lovers” was painted in in April of 2014, on the door of a youth center. By this time Banksy was well known so when he posted a picture of this piece online fan were in a frenzy in search of the paintings location (Vincent). The artwork depicts a man and a woman, dressed in professional business attire. in a loving embrace, each holding and looking at a cellphone. The media the graffiti was painted on was a plywood, exterior, door, with the use of spray paint and stencils. Much of Banksy’s art theme is geared to politics, however he does have quite a bit of work that is simply humorous.

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As I look at this piece I feel like it gets me and my perception on technology today. My interpretation of the painting is this: In today’s society, because of the great need to include technology as a major part of our lives, the intimacy of a relationship has diminished. I have a rule in my family that, when we are sitting at the table to eat together, there will be absolutely no cell phone use. So, when I go out to eat with my children and I look around at the people around me I take note of their interactions. What I see is not only teenagers, but young children and adults alike, so entranced by whatever is on their cell phones that the rarely even look up to acknowledge the others at the table. This art work makes me happy in the sense that it understands my feelings and view about how technology is causing society to lose interest in interpersonal relationship. On the other hand, it also makes me feel sad and concerned for the future. When I look at this painting I can envision a future were people have allowed technology to create a barrier in personal relationship that could have detrimental effects on the ability of to be able to feel empathy and compassion for others.

I like that Bansky placed this are work on the door of a youth center where it can send the intended massage to the generation that has been raised on technology. Another benefit of the location of the graffiti is that the owner was able to use the piece to keep the center open for the local youth and to also create an art program. When the owner found the art he immediate took the door down and displayed it inside of the center to collect donations to benefit the youth club. Once the local authorities got wind of the art work the confiscated the piece claiming it was public property and was displayed in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. Later Banksy sent the youth club manager a person letter giving him ownership of the art work, making this the only piece of work publicly endorsed by him.

Banksy’s style of art was influence by the graffiti artist Blek le Rat, who influenced him to gear his art toward a more political view. I am unsure if there is a historical influence to Banksy’s work but he is influenced by the events of the current time. He has been known to have view of “Brandalism,” the stand against corporate power over culture by placing logos and ads in public spaces. One of his pieces depicts 2 children saluting as a third child raises a grocery bag, with a brand name on it, up a flag pole. Banksy tends to express his feelings about politics and corporate influences in many of his paintings.

There were a lot of events in the news the year this painting was created. Ebola because a worldwide scare, a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane disappeared without a trace, the terror group referred to as ISIS became known to the world, the US began to see more cases of excessive force, against young Black American’s, in the news, the first ever robot comet landing, and President Obama began repairing relations between the US and Cuba. I am not sure that much of this had any influence on this particular work of art but because of his political depictions in much of his work I am sure they were influence in other pieces.

I really enjoy looking at, and even analyzing, the work of Banksy because not only does he make a statement about the things in society the he and many others feel, but he also adds humor to his work. “Mobile Lovers” is one of the most powerful pieces of art, for myself, that I have seen, it makes a statement about an issue that is important to me. I could have chosen from millions of pieces of art but this one spoke to me in a personal way, which made me want to learn about and write about this piece. While the public may never know the identity of Banksy we feel blessed to have him in our lives through his art.

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