Banksy - Genius or Plagiarist?

by Mackenzie Dahms, July 2015

300 words

1 page


Banksy - genius or plagiarist ?

Some Background

Banksy is one of the most well-known street-painters nowadays. His works have been shown in numerous exhibitions and sold for unbelievable prices. His fans are such celebrities as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Christina Aguilera and so on. Today, he is one of the most talented and well-known figures of art. At the same time, nobody still knows for sure his identity, which is hidden under a pseudonym. His personality has been always gripping me, and that is why I have chosen his art as a topic of my research.

I have already gotten familiar with more than 100 of his works and found out that his talent has no limits. It is not just vandalism; it is much more than that. These works criticize politics and bring attention to different social issues. As for me, they are sarcastic and brilliant in the meantime! Of course, opinions of him are not always clear-cut. For example, some critics say that his works are no more than a plagiarism of Blek Le Rat. Some of them believe that it is not an art but the absolute vandalism which should be punished but not being sold on exhibitions. Basically, it would be surprising, if the talent of such a genius would not have been subjected to harsh criticism, is not it?

The Banksy's calling card is a "rat." You can meet it all over the globe - from the USA to Japan. Meanwhile, this is the main reason for accusations in a non-random similarity to Le Rat, because he had started to paint it on the streets several years before him.

Just compare these two ones. The first one painted Blek, the second one – Banksy.

Unfortunately, the similarity seems to be obvious.


Frankly speaking, I admire the works of Banksy and my opinion is not objective. That is why I do not want to believe that he had deliberately plagiarized the works of Frenchman, though the facts say otherwise. In any case, apart from rats and a couple of similar works, Banksy have made over a hundred works, which the world has never seen before. In my opinion, Blek was only his inspiration.

Meanwhile, Banksy released his talent in several books, published be himself. Halas, I have not read any of them by this moment, but I am going to do it in the nearest future.

During the research, most of all I was shocked by the fact that, in the UK, where is the widest network of CCTV in the world, his face has never been fixed cameras. Hardly can I imagine myself not being caught by cameras while I have been painting on the street for more than 8 years.

The biography of Banksy is full of mystery, but one thing is for sure – he is a genius, not a plagiarist!

Works Cited

Observer (London, England), September 17, 2006, p. 19.

Times (London, England), October 11, 2005, p. 21; September 20, 2006, p. 4.

Guardian (London, England), July 17, 2003, p. 10.

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