As we told you last week, our good friends at Time Out Sydney unveiled a major print publishing coup by nabbing Banksy, the world’s most famous street artist, for an extremely rare interview and an even rarer cover. Now, thanks to the power of internet friendships, we have an excerpt from that interview as well as an exclusive first look at the specially-commissioned rat-centric cover. Read on as Banksy explains his fascination with vermin, his inspiration for the Sydney Time Out cover and his reaction to a Melbourne stencil that was recently painted over.
Is this definitely you? After all, some mags have been duped into interviews with imposters. I wish you were talking to an imposter. I don’t have much of a personality, so it’s difficult to be one.
Why did you make Exit Through The Gift Shop? To document my work. It’s frustrating when the only people with good photos of your work are the police department.
How would you respond to those who say graffiti is the lowest form of art? Although you have to creep about at night and lie to your mum, it’s actually one of the more honest forms of art available. Mindless vandalism can take a bit of thought.
Do you want your art to be preserved? It’s impossible to predict which paintings will last and which won’t. In New Orleans I painted on a dilapidated shop in a street littered with abandoned cars and rotting mattresses, then two hours later the piece was gone. It turned out I’d picked the side of a crack house and the proprietor didn’t like the attention.
Is graffiti vandalism? The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. Graffiti writers are not real villains. Real villains consider the idea of breaking in some place, not stealing anything and then leaving behind a painting of your name in four-foot high letters the most retarded thing they have ever heard of.
Did you enjoy producing the Time Out cover? I’m not sure what the cover means – there’s less to it than meets the eye.
But why the famous fascination with rats? They exist without permission. They are hated, hunted and persecuted. They live in quiet desperation amongst the filth. And yet they are capable of bringing entire civilisations to their knees. If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved, then rats are the ultimate role model. I’d been painting rats for three years before someone said: That’s clever it’s an anagram of art. And I had to pretend I’d known that all along.
What’s next for you? I’m thinking of quitting the art world. I want to do something a bit more creative.
Above is your first look at Time Out Sydney’s exclusive Banksy cover. To read the full interview, buy Time Out Sydney’s Banksy issue, on sale for $3.95 from tomorrow, Wednesday 26 May. But in the meantime check out all the Banksy related goodness below.
OWN A BANKSY
Buy a limited edition numbered A2 print of Banksy’s Time Out cover art (sans coverlines). Each print will cost $40 including postage and packing and a six-month subscription to Time Out. A donation will go to Pine Street Creative Arts Centre in Chippendale which uses street art for outreach. This print run is strictly limited to 500 and will sell out. To order yours, click here or call 02 8296 5457.
SEE THE FILM
Tickets to ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ at next month’s Sydney Film Festival are all but sold out. But Time Out is putting on its own screening of the film in a secret location during June. To win one of 100 free double passes, just click here.
IN PEDESTRIAN TOMORROW
A review of Banksy’s film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. Plus: how do you manage to get in touch with someone as famously anonymous and elusive as Banksy and get him to design a cover for you? We interview Time Out editor Dan Rookwood to find out