Following the visit to Bristol’s oldest art gallery, the RWA, I then took my Bristol Arts Tour to College Green in Bristol, to see the ‘Naked man, hanging from window’ Banksy art mural, painted on the side of a sexual health clinic.
For those of you not familiar with Banksy, he is an anonymous street artist, that has been creating street art in Bristol since the early 90s, and later following the 2000s, some of his work has emerged elsewhere around the UK and worldwide (BBC, 2020).
The ‘Naked man, hanging from window,’ street art, sometimes called ‘The well hung man’ or just ‘hanging man’ first appeared in 2006, and was vandalised in 2009 by paintballs being fired at it, and was then vandalised again in 2018, where unknown street artists’ tags appeared and ‘F#@K Banksy’ appeared below (artlyst, 2018).
Some say that the ‘Naked Man’ street art initially appeared as an unlicensed piece of street art, and later was granted permission by the council to remain, following a poll where 97% of Bristol residents voted in favour of keeping the mural as it was (Atlasobscura, page visited Feb 2021).
Having started as an unknown street artist, his art has become known worldwide. In 2018, he performed a stunt where after the hammer fell down at auction for his ‘girl with balloon’ art to be sold at £1million, the art work then passed through an inbuilt shredder at the base of the picture frame, shredding the art work now sold (BBC, 2018).
Banksy is also known for philanthropy, having donated a large sum of money to the Bristol Council in 2018 to keep various Bristol libraries open when they were threatened to close due to cuts in funding (The Book Seller, 2018). He has also raised awareness about homelessness and poverty in his subversive street art.
Banksy has certainly become an iconic street artist in Bristol and beyond, without anyone actually ever knowing exactly who he is. It’s hard to imagine the Bristol street art scene without the now global influence of Banksy, and I think it’s certainly an important artist to include on my Bristol Arts Tour, for not only his artwork, but also raising awareness of humanitarian issues through his street art. I’ll be exploring more street art in Bristol over the next coming week.
If you’d like to read more about the artwork that I’ve produced in the 9-part series called ‘Bi in the 2000s™’ you can read more about it on my Instagram page @annafranceshealing and my blog post here.
You can also buy merchandise here: anna-frances.com/shop