Whether or not you are an art connoisseur, chances are that you have at least heard the name Banksy before. Who is Banksy and why should you hate yourself for not being around Central Park on Saturday to pick up a $60 original spray-art canvas of his from a pop-up booth? Well, for starters those $60 pieces are now fetching over $30,000 a pop for starters.
Banksy is an English-born street artist that uses stenciling techniques in his spray-paint artwork. More than that, he is a political activist that displays his work free-of-charge around the world, making clear and sometimes harsh statements on the state of current affairs in the world.
He is also the world’s most famous street artist and arguably the most famous living artist in the world today. So what is it that makes Banksy, Banksy? Here are 5 traits that make him the powerful force that he has become:
“Your mind is working at its best when you're being paranoid. You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity.”
Banksy has mastered the art of focusing and the use of paranoia — most likely from the constant possibility of getting caught by the police and arrested — to his advantage. There are two main types of stress: productive and unproductive. Learning to use the stress you experience to drive your actions and to maximize your efficiency is something that we should all aim for and something that decades on the streets of the world has taught Banksy.
“Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent, leave the house before you find something worth staying in for. ”
He understands his own laziness and the temptation of not doing. Each person in the world has some sort of ‘talent’ or another — some capability that they could use to better their lives. However, most people never actually take the first step; most people invent excuses for themselves, telling themselves they would be better off delaying action.
Banksy doesn’t. Instead, he steps outside of his comfort zone and then figures out what he needs to do to stay afloat. More often than not our fears are overdramatized. You’re going to make mistakes either way. You may as well make them sooner than later.
“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
He understands that the main point of his work is to affect others. Most people do things for themselves; to make themselves happy, to keep themselves occupied, to make their own lives more interesting or meaningful. When it comes to being successful, it no longer solely matters how you feel or how you react to your own work — what matters more is how the outside world reacts.
We have no choice but to interact with society in one way or another; it is impossible for any person to live on their own forever without interacting with another. In order to maximize your success and your purposeful output, we must learn from Banksy and maximize the effect our work has on others. What other people think doesn’t matter and is all that matters simultaneously.
“All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?”
Banksy understands the importance of mastery. It isn’t simply enough to have good ideas. You must also execute with skill. Most people are ready to give up a whole lot for their dreams — everything except their time and focus, that which is most needed for success. There are many shortcuts that can be taken in life. Mastery of a trade or skillset is not one of them.
Learn the most basics and fundamentals of any trade and the rest will not only come easier, but will be done with greater technique and for this reason believed to hold more value.
“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It's people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages”
He embraces change instead of avoiding it. We are all looking for change in our lives, yet most of us aren’t willing to change for it. Silly, no? We want things to be different, but are too afraid to step out of line and be reprimanded. Change makes people uncomfortable — true. But who said comfort is the goal? Isn’t the best possible future the goal?
Don’t be afraid to change things up and cause a bit of a riot. It’s when voices are loudest that they are heard clearest. Don’t be afraid to make changes in your life and the lives of others. The only thing you should be afraid of is complacency.
All photos courtesy Instagram/Banksy