Flip Flop Flying

Ten reasons

with 49 comments

There are plenty of popular people or things that I don’t like. The Arctic Monkeys for one. The League of Gentlemen for another. Top of my list, though, is Banksy. A sixth-form brain inside the body of a vandal masquerading as an artist.

If you need convincing, here’s ten reasons why Banksy is shit.

1. Taking something normal or staid and adding something “edgy” isn’t big or clever, it’s kinda ordinary and a bit childish. (example 1, example 2, example 3.)

2. What, you mean Disney and McDonald’s are the bad guys? Who knew? Zzzzz…

3. Barcodes. Yeh, right, you’re really sticking it to the man there, dude. Like, y’know, we’re all, like, products, maaaaan. Fuck off. (example 1, example 2)

4. Paranoid Pictures. Didn’t ravers cover this type of thing in the early nineties with those Fairy Liquid/Fairly Hip Kid and Hoover/Groover t-shirts?

5. No matter how much you try and justify it, graffiti is still vandalism. Be it a tag or a fancy stencil of a rat. I don’t care how talented you are, if you were to spray paint my car or jacket, it’d be vandalism; why exactly is doing it to a building any different?

6.This piece of his work sold for £50,400 last week. I don’t really care how much it cost, and who was stupid enough to pay that much. What I do find interesting is how anyone who thinks of themselves as an artist can do something so utterly predictable and dull. Ooh, taking someone modern and doing-a-Warhol with them. Yeh, really edgy. I can’t wait to see your art work with Pete Doherty’s face super-imposed on that Che Guevara photo.

7. Dude, get a new typeface for your crappy little tag, huh? I can’t ever remember a time when that typeface said anything other than “cheap electronic item.”

8. The whole Paris Hilton thing. Yeh, well done. You succeeded in doing the exact same thing that makes her so loathsome: shameless self-promotion. Talking of which…

9. The Guantanamo prisoner at Disneyland stunt. What’s the point? You think anyone visiting Disneyland is gonna care? You think the people who run Disneyland are gonna let it stay there? You think it’s gonna do Disneyland any harm? You think it’s gonna change the situation at Guantanamo? No, of course not. So there’s only one reason you did it: self-promotion.

10. The elephant. Aaah, I see what you did there: you took a common phrase, and actually put a REAL LIVE ELEPHANT in a room. Yeh, nice one. What next? A bunch of cooks making some really foul-tasting broth? And guess what, dickhead, it’s so fucking wrong to do that to an elephant, you should be ashamed of yourself, you contemptible cunt.

I feel better now I’ve got that off my chest.

Written by Craig

October 24th, 2006 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

49 Responses to 'Ten reasons'

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  1. Thanks, Craig. Until now I thought I was one of the very very few who consider his “work” shit. I even had to endure the crap as a topic in my English class!

    Merete

    24 Oct 06 at 6:14 pm

  2. you must be the most bitter man on earth..and I love it!

    J.

    24 Oct 06 at 7:11 pm

  3. Craig, thank you so much for verbalizing what I have felt for a while now. I see too many young artists and designers looking up to Banksy, and unfortunately they often fixate on the glamour of being “underground” and “against the system”, rather than looking at how they can contribute to society and make the world better.

  4. Ha, I have a feeling there are plenty of us who think Banksy is shit.

    I can’t imagine any “real” artists liking his work … but hey! “real” artists are the establishment right? and we all know that the establishment are bastards. Fucking bastards. Fucking greedy establishment bastards.

    Your reasons all rang true with me.

    I can imagine some Banksy retrospective in a few years where they bang on about him being “self-taught” – Wow, really? I couldn’t tell.
    Your ‘sixth form’ comment is something Laurie and I have often discussed (“very A’ level”)

    Not many people make me as angry as him and the fawning fans he has gathered. I would say that the LA show was the last straw but I think the camel’s back broke a long time ago … wait a minute … that’s a great idea for a price of art. Do they have any camels for hire at Longleat?

    When he runs out of great ideas he can always accidentally get caught and cause a furore on BBC Breakfast about how a famous artist is being persecuted by philistine policemen.

    It is another example of how the internet encourages the misuse of words like “genius”.

    I have no time music from the Arctic Monkeys but they don’t actually bother me, or make me angry. They are easy to ignore.
    I have never seen The League Of Gentlemen and I don’t care.

    Lance Crossfire

    24 Oct 06 at 9:33 pm

  5. That should have read …

    I have no time for music from the Arctic Monkeys …

    Obviously

    Lance Crossfire

    24 Oct 06 at 11:22 pm

  6. Should I jump on the Banksy hate train like everyone else is doing? Just because the guy is now making some money with what hes been doing for the past decade makes him untalented and “shit”. Why didn’t you write this “blog” two years ago? Get a life. Banksy does grafitti because he enjoys it, and personally, I think hes pretty damn good at it. Grafitti has ben around forever, your not saying anything no one else hasn’t said for 40+ years. We all knows it ‘s vandalism, but atleast Banksy’s grafitti is making something of a point.

    Anonymous

    25 Oct 06 at 4:46 am

  7. Nice use of the ‘anonymous’ thing there. You could put the word where the numbers of a barcode would be, and it’d make a wicked tag.

    Craig

    25 Oct 06 at 9:07 am

  8. I love it when you rant – it’s nice to see that people can be excited (or iratet – is that a word) at all today.
    Cool to come up with ten points either.
    Although I couldn’t care less about Banksy (not much different from any other smart ass anonymous comment), I like to read your “oof the chest” comments, whenever they come along.

    Cheers

    Alex

    Anonymous

    25 Oct 06 at 11:08 am

  9. You ask why anyone would be interested in the Guantanamo prisoner at Disneyland stunt and yet you sit and blog everyday expecting people to be interested in the rantings of a maniac.
    I agree with anonymous – why are you getting down on someone now after their work has been around for years. Is it the jealous streak coming out in you as there is money being made off graff or something you find infantile and lacking talent? Im probably one of those designers you despise and to be honest I couldnt give a monkeys because art is a personal thing whether it is illegally on a wall or over priced in a fancy building. Expression is expression and its what people do – you all do it but in other ways, maybe its making shyte music or whatever. Why waste the energy being a complete hater for no reason. Hes found a niche and is working it plus if you jump out of your over self opinionated skin once in a while and take life less seriously you might find the humour in alot of the pieces.

    I didnt know bloggin was an angry sport…
    use life to live dude not loath…

    ;)

    dave

    25 Oct 06 at 11:17 am

  10. I’d say nice work if Banksy can get it… I don’t ‘get’ art a lot of the time – I like some, I don’t like some, and I find a lot of the analysis of works quite pretentious and poncy. But he’s making a very tidy living from his ‘over-rated’ art so really it doesn’t matter I guess! I’d do the same and call it art if I could. Self-promotion is definitely something a lot of artists seem to be good at… who will promote them if they don’t promote themselves? And I agree that a lot of art is super subjective.

  11. Refering to point 9, Surely all art is self-promotion in one form or other.When you put your stuff out there, whether it be a tiny pixel version of Queen or a stencilled rat or whether you’re trying to put a message across or just doing something fun, as soon as that work enters public domain it’s self promotion.

    rich t

    25 Oct 06 at 11:28 am

  12. Hooray for you and your rant. I couldn’t agree more. Maybe we are just getting old though!

    CoCo

    25 Oct 06 at 11:53 am

  13. I used to like it but I’m all Banky’d out now. In the 8 years I’ve been in London he’s not progressed his art much at all.

    Matt Sephton

    25 Oct 06 at 1:02 pm

  14. I really don’t get why you’re so beside yourself about Banksy? Take the Mickey/Ronald/Viet Nam piece. Sure it isn’t a profound or complex sociopolitcal statement. It’s a simple idea, adequately executed. And you’re right in that there is potentially a preaching to the converted angle that allows it to be easiy dismissed. But there is seemingly (depressingly) a worldfull of people who don’t see any connection between US big biz and global conflict. And if a simple image, such as this, available in as public a forum as possible, causes a small number of people to think about the connections then surely that’s a good thing. At the end of the day the effectiveness of the image should be more important than it’s creator. Which in this case I think it is.
    ADT

    Anonymous

    25 Oct 06 at 1:08 pm

  15. Some replies:

    “Why are you getting down on someone now after their work has been around for years”
    I only had six reasons to hate him until recently.

    “Is it the jealous streak coming out”
    Yeh, I was wondering if anyone would be silly enough to suggest that. I don’t like Robert Mugabe, but it doesn’t mean I want to run Zimbabwe.

    “Why waste the energy being a complete hater”
    So a rant about your beloved Banksy makes me a COMPLETE hater? Wow. I’ll assume, then, that you go through life not having an negative opinion about anything at all, shall I? (Apart from people who don’t love Banksy.)

    “I didnt [sic] know bloggin was an angry sport”
    I didn’t realise there were any rules one has to follow.

    “Surely all art is self-promotion in one form or other”
    To a certain extent I agree with you. When you put anything out there for people to see, it does the job of alerting people to your work. Where I disagree is when something is done for the specific reason of attracting attention (the Disneyland and Paris Hilton stunts).

    Craig

    25 Oct 06 at 1:50 pm

  16. Craig,
    This might go down as one of your very best posts (in my view). But then I suppose I’m biased – I also loathe all the drivel this man has polluted the streets with. When he then started trying to get it taken seriously as art – well, how we all laughed. But how we stopped laughing when some moron actually paid that much money for a piss-poor bit of Warhol-referencing juvenalia AT A PROPER AUCTION HOUSE for God’s sake.
    Keep up the bile. And roll on the Last Songs mix.

    Ian Mac

    25 Oct 06 at 2:33 pm

  17. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say: Fuck Banksy!

    It’s just like looking at the friggin golden arches, only the golden arches are prettier.

    His shit is so obvious and so lacking in anything other than its own obviousness that it has become the ultimate in narcissism.

    And if I want narcissism done well, then I’ll put a friggin Snoop Dogg record on, bitches.

    Derick

    Anonymous

    25 Oct 06 at 4:40 pm

  18. I understand that everyone has an opinion and that a blog is basically a way to get what’s in your head out but…. Your rant about Banksy is so fucking Hollier Than Thou. What, have you never used a gimmick in your art before? “Hey man, let’s make a really small Snoop Dogg, how clever.” Basically I think that there is a certain amount of jealously here. Your point about not liking Mugabe is way off, you ARE an artist trying to gain fame and fortune through your work, just like hmmmmmmmm… oh yeah Banksy HAS (as far as I know your not an aspiring Dictator) . Banksy’s reached a point that you want to be at (yeah, I read the blogs about you going to the MTV thing and almost creaming your pants about all the celebs)and that’s hurting you man.
    To sum up I think the real reason you’re angry is not the actual quality of the work (is yours really that much better?), it’s that people like it… A LOT! Secretly I think you’d love someone to have a rant about your work on their blog but the thing is no one cares enough about your work….

    Anonymous

    26 Oct 06 at 9:51 am

  19. Come on Anonymous, that’s a bit harsh!

    Seriously, though, Craig, why don’t you like The League of Gentlemen?

    Anonymous

    26 Oct 06 at 12:23 pm

  20. It’s interesting that you are side-stepping my actual criticisms of Banksy, preferring to indulge in your own fantasies of a bitter, twisted man blogging away in a sour pool of his own jealousy. If that’s what you want to think, be my guest.

    Re. League of Gentlemen. I’ve never laughed once while watching it.

    Craig

    26 Oct 06 at 12:57 pm

  21. Whatever you say about Banksy, at least he selflessly got the media to once more take a look at the appalling Israeli barrier that is cruelly cutting off Palestinians. Ever since then, no one seems to give a damn about it, but hey, maybe you could step in Craig? Fancy doing a Banksy, putting your money where your mouth is and risking life and limb by scrawling some minipops on the wall? It might get you another Reebok-style ad campaign.

    davidgest

    26 Oct 06 at 1:33 pm

  22. Selflessly? Okay, delude yourself if you want to.

    Craig

    26 Oct 06 at 2:01 pm

  23. So you agree with the rest of my point then?

    davidgest

    26 Oct 06 at 2:05 pm

  24. No, I was too busy wondering if you’re the David Gest that married Liza Minelli.

    Craig

    26 Oct 06 at 2:08 pm

  25. Maybe I’m actually Banksy in disguise…

    davidgest

    26 Oct 06 at 2:12 pm

  26. Banksy smells of poo, hahahahaha.

    Liza with a Z

    26 Oct 06 at 4:02 pm

  27. The difference between Craig and Banksy is the difference between doing something artful, with attention and craft to telling a compelling story, and doing something easy/predictable, with little to no concern with anything but impact.

    It’s like comparing David Bazan to the Spice Girls.

    The Pixies to Too Live Crew.

    Huey Lewis to, well, Huey Lewis.

    In other words, there is no subtlety to Banksy or his “craft.” Furthermore, the fact that he hides behind an anonymous identity (whether on messageboards or otherwise) suggests to me that he’s embarrassed to claim his own work.

    I mean, c’mon, that Kate Moss thing is so bad it actually physically hurt, my friend.

    You are my friend, right?

    Derick

    Anonymous

    26 Oct 06 at 6:31 pm

  28. I don’t like the League of Gentlemen either.

  29. Not sure if this is completely relevant but, davidgest, I heard that whilst Banksy was adding his 9 images to the Israeli West Bank barrier an old man reprimanded him saying that the wall should not be beautified and that it should remain a sombre and harsh reminder of the situation.
    I too don’t get the Arctic Monkeys but I do like The League of Gentlemen.

    Benji

    26 Oct 06 at 7:13 pm

  30. Craig,
    I’ve been reading the many comments and I’m sorry to see people don’t have the guts to post without revealing their identity…

    Although I’m not a big Banksy-fan, I don’t agree with all of your points.

    I agree that vandalism or criminal behaviour is not the proper way of expression or statements.
    I also agree on your point(s) that he’s now trying to ‘cash in’ with his works that started out as public street-art.

    I don’t agree with you on the ‘stunt’ factor being a way of self-promotion. It’s just a way of making your point and reaching a bigger audience. I think thatself promotion is one of the essential reasons for making art.

    And the barcode and typeface thing: that’s just a question of taste or am I wrong?

    .

    26 Oct 06 at 7:48 pm

  31. Anonymous 4 Life said…

    Craig, shame on you… This rant is so sad and pathetic, I teared up a bit while reading it. You and your chronies who are all like “Craig, you’re so amazing, come and let me touch you, your opinions are so right, let me jump on the baksy hate band wangon with you Craig, I LOVE YOU” are all so jealous of Banksy, its sad.

    I’m not a Banksy lover, nor am I a Banksy hater. I also don’t understand why someone would take the time to write a ten point blog about how they dispise him (yes, you do dispise him, and I feel for you.)

    The fact is, Banksy seems to do what he enjoys, seeing as how he has been doing the samething for a while now, but you didn’t hate him when he wasn’t making money did you? It seems that all your “points” of hate are all pretty recent happenings.

    We all know it’s popular to hate something thats getting alot of hype in the media, I just didn’t think you would be the one to do it Craig. (oh wait, it seems thats all you do) Maybe your buddies will help you raise your self esteme about your self by agreeing with your ludacris opinions on someone doing what they enjoy and their work that doesn’t affect you at all.

    ~~Anonymous 4 Life

    Anonymous

    26 Oct 06 at 9:15 pm

  32. I have to say, it’s amusing to see people take personal offence to your opinions.

    - jennifer

    Anonymous

    26 Oct 06 at 10:29 pm

  33. Oh my. I had never heard of Banksy before your post, Craig, and this has all been very interesting. It has descended into a bit of a flame-fest though–perhaps it’s time for a change of topic. May I suggest something less controversial, like abortion or the death penalty?

    Hope all is going well!

    Kelly

    26 Oct 06 at 10:34 pm

  34. Benji, the old guy was probably Craig with a beard on.

    davidgest

    27 Oct 06 at 1:00 pm

  35. Absolutely don’t agree with Craig’s view of Banksy or his reasons for disliking him. But – they’re his own reasons and frankly he’s entitled to blog ‘em. So just calm down people. It’s not really worth getting all *personal* about.

    B

    p.s. Did quite like the fact kelly had never heard of Banksy in the midst of everyone ranting on about him.
    p.p.s. Poor old Liza. She never did have much luck with men.

    Anonymous

    27 Oct 06 at 2:51 pm

  36. Craig

    As you are one of my favourite artists I was actually going to email you and ask you what you thought of Banksy when that whole pink elephant shit happened. I’ve known about his work for years, and have never rated it as any more than stating the obvious in an untalented way.

    Thanks for letting us know what you think, and I for one totally agree with you.

    Hannah

    Anonymous

    27 Oct 06 at 2:59 pm

  37. Dear Anonymous 4 Life,

    Two words: Spell check.

    Goodnight, bitches,
    Ananymous 4 Now

    Anonymous

    27 Oct 06 at 4:26 pm

  38. Hello

    Been away ‘cottaging’ in the countryside and look what I’ve missed!

    Good for you. For the record, I moaned about Banksy’s dial-a-cliche sixth form anti capitalism shit when I worked in Old St almost ten years ago now and I stand by it, although the Palestine Wall thing I did think was the exception to the ‘Banksy is shit’ rule.
    I don’t understand why so many people (including ‘anon’) think he’s such a genius – what has he done other than sum up people’s vacuouc lives more than he thinks by saying absolutely nothing and masquerading it as a deep message?

    PS If you drive into Bristol from London, you can see one of his early ‘works’ – ie a badly drawn, pre stencil logo, on the back of a motorway sign. If some twat hasn’t stolen it and auctioned it on eBay by now.
    PPS That was another ‘Dave’ up there in case you didn’t realise.
    PPPS Done lots of ‘thinking’ while I’ve been away. It’s good for the soul. Planning a few ‘life changes’ soon..

    Mark

    28 Oct 06 at 5:02 pm

  39. The Final Word:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1878555,00.html

    Mark

    29 Oct 06 at 12:08 am

  40. i liked his stuff when he first started painting, then it kind of became a bore. now we have thousands of imitators producing equally dull ‘pieces’ all over the place.

    i just see graffiti as a way of annoying people, whether that be the authorities, the media or the public.

    • i also hate youths wearing jeans showing off their pants and arse cracks

    • snoop dog

    • alex fergusen

    • the people i work with and what they ‘pretend to stand for’

    chipster

    2 Nov 06 at 2:38 pm

  41. Wanksy

    Anonymous

    2 Nov 06 at 9:32 pm

  42. I absolutetely agree. That elephant thing just makes me sad, you can almost see the dismay in its eyes. And really, what statement was it making that couldn’t have been made without defacing such a beautiful creature? The only part I must object to is the “sixth form brain”. I find it insulting! Am currently in sixth form, and have never considered such derivative artwork “hip”.

    R.McRose

    2 Nov 06 at 11:54 pm

  43. It seems that street artists only garner wads of hate after they start making some decent cash bringing out the “I could have done that piece of junk” feelings. Being a graffiti writer, I admire anybody who can make a sucessful career out of creating art outside the gallery setting. I have never seen bansky do the same piece twice and you have to admit the stuff in Palestine was pretty cool. Nobody was bitching then!

    As for the sixth form comment, simple art yes. If I could create quick art, make a great living and lead a very straighforward, impulsive life bring it on!

    -ultralpha

    Anonymous

    29 Nov 06 at 4:45 pm

  44. See, your willful twisting and projecting of your views of people who dislike Banksy colours your argument.
    What, so as soon as someone starts making money, he’s off limits for any criticism? A ridiculous argument.

    And the Palestine stuff: Zzzzzz. Just turgid and dull.

    As you are a “graffiti writer,” it’s enjoyable for me to have this opportunity to say that I hope you get caught and prosectuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Craig

    29 Nov 06 at 4:54 pm

  45. Banksy – Juxtapositions for dummies. I didn’t hate Banksy when he wasn’t making money, because I’d never even fucking heard of him.

    His art says nothing that hasn’t been said 100 before and 100 times more articulately by and number of artists/writers etc

    It was good of him to do the Palestine thing, cos nobody had ever even heard of Palestine before that had they? And now look, everybody in the Gaza Strip is holding hands and singing in harmony, all thanks to Banksy!

    Tench

    23 Nov 07 at 3:10 am

  46. BANKSY? BIGGEST C*UNT GOING
    I PAINT GRAFFITI FOR A LONG TIME.
    HE IS NOT A GRAFFITI ARTIST
    HE MAKES STENCILS AT HOME
    NO SKILL
    NOTHING NEW SAID
    NO DANGER
    UTTER W*NKER FACE TO FACE
    THE WHOLE GRAFFITI COMMUNITY HATES HIM WITH A PASSION FOR RUINING THE IMAGE OF THEIR CULTURE.
    HE IS NOT GRAFFITI,
    HE IS NOT GOODHE GOT KICKED OUT OF HIS GRAFFITI CREW BECAUSE HE WAS NO GOOD.
    GO AND BLOW A MONKEY GAYBOY

    Anonymous

    13 Oct 08 at 7:12 pm

  47. I think he's one of the biggest cunts going

    Anonymous

    28 Jul 09 at 4:29 pm

  48. well i'll start by saying your as big of an idiot as he is..
    sure he's a vandal but atleast he's good, it's better than the shitty graffiti art that gets put up under or instead of his art.
    as for the vandalism part, he always paints on public property in the view of the public, it's giving the space back to the public
    you may not like his art, you may not understand it but it still has meaning and worth to it. he has all the right in the world to make money off it and his work is alot better than the "artists" who are shown in galleries.
    you are entitled to free speech and expression and so is he. his just happens to give pleasure and beauty to the public forum.. yours gives unnecessary hate…

    get a life

    Anonymous

    26 Aug 09 at 12:21 pm

  49. Terrifyingly bad use of the English language, Anonymous.

    Craig

    26 Aug 09 at 1:31 pm

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