I’ll be rooting for the graffiti artist Banksy to win an Oscar tomorrow for his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. I find his work on outdoor walls inspiring. Don’t worry, I haven’t bought a hooded jacket and a spray can of paint. The streets of Winchester are safe, from me at least.
It’s more about the way he thinks. He shares with great artists of the past the ability to look at an everyday object or scene and find in it something meaningful that the rest didn’t see.
It’s the same kind of eye that enabled Michelangelo to look at a piece of marble that had baffled even other artists and see in it a sculpture of David or Picasso to look at an old bike’s saddle and handlebars and see a goat’s head.
Los Angeles, home of the Oscars, is currently benefiting from Banksy’s imaginative street art, such as the wall of a burnt out building that featured a smiling Charlie Brown with a petrol can and a cigarette. My favourite is a large poster for a Las Vegas hospitality company which he has transformed into a scene of debauchery featuring a drugged up Minnie Mouse and a drunken Mickey cavorting with the bikini clad woman of the original advertisement. It says a lot about the gap between people’s fantasies and the reality of the high life.
One of my best Christmas presents was a book of Banksy’s art called Wall and Piece. It has given me a lot of inspiration in my work as a retailer. What he and other artists demonstrate is that, by taking the everyday and transforming it, you can create much more attention grabbing, emotionally engaging displays or websites. And if you can do it with humour all the better.
I don’t claim the windows of Your Life Your Style are great art but, when our designer Lyn recently positioned a little Dora Designs paperweight mouse peeking out of a faux fur slipper, she created something that was more than just a display of two products, and that at least nodded in the direction of artists like Banksy.
This article first appeared on the Southern Daily Echo website. It has also appeared on Blogger.com