As Banksy winds up his residency at the Bristol Museum with crowds running round the block since it opened, a new book celebrating the astonishing success of the International Street Art scene has been published.
These days it seems like its all big business, with the Hollywood glitterati embracing it. Brangelina spent £1m on a Banksy; and Jude Law, Christina Aguilera, Dennis Hopper and Keanu Reeves have all been seen at shows. However, Untitled keeps a firm grip on whats happening on the street.
Banksys work has included climbing into London Zoos penguin enclosure and painting were bored of fish in seven foot high letters as well as guerilla installations of his own art in the Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum. However the scene isnt just about outrageous stunts.
The real focus of the book is simply aesthetics. In an age where every visible surface is claimed by either neon, billboard, poster or advertising of some sort, isnt it faintly reassuring to see beautifully crafted pieces of ephemeral art without a hard sell message - and all for free?
Against a backdrop of consumerism why are we are startled and confused when Banksy sprays a 50ft statement depicting One Nation Under CCTV on a wall for all to see. No sponsor and no brand? What is he not selling?
Once youve opened your eyes and know what to look for, that walk through the citys streets will never be the same again. There can be museum quality art on almost any corner.
Untitled: The Beautiful Renaissance
Publication Date: 16th August, 2009
Compiled by: Gary Shove
No of Pages: 192
Untitled: The Beautiful Renaissance can be ordered via www.untitledstreetart.co.uk