The Banksy Flower
When looking at this image the first that captured my eye was obviously the large yellow flower on the wall. This was clearly meant to be the focal point of the artwork. This fact is interesting within itself because it causes the viewer to question why Banksy would want this image emphasized. The flower, since the sixties, has been a symbol of peace. It allows serves as a symbol of nature and innocence. This symbol is put on a street or urban background perhaps to show the contrast or to call for peace or environmental awareness. It could also serve as a reminder of carefree innocence, an idea often lost in the often cold city. Also the size of the flower is enormous. This clearly puts emphasis on the image and could serve to stress the artist’s message. The fact that Banksy decided to draw a flower in an urban environment could be making a statement about urbanization versus nature. The flower is yellow obviously to match the color of the street lines but the interpretation of the color is interesting. On the street, the lines which are color yellow do not induce feelings of happiness until the lines are shaped into a flower. Yellow is characteristically a bright color associated with happiness. One aspect of the picture that I noticed was the subtle curve in the two lines just before they begin to shape the flower. I cannot determine what purpose this would serve but it may be to separate the street lines from the flower lines. Another aspect of the flower includes how the two lines on the street merge to create one holistic image. Therefore one could conclude that the lines are used to show continuation and unity. Concerning the medium, the idea of a flower and what it represents clashes with ideas of graffiti. The flower appears have been done with a spray paint can due to the visible dripping. This creates an interesting contrast to the point where the viewer all most forgets that they are looking at graffiti. The subjects matter clashes with the medium.
As for the surroundings, the wall, besides the flower is beige and rather plain. The flower adds both beauty and intrigue to the normally ignored and simple wall. Banksy could have wanted to draw attention to the area by beautifying it in his own way. The street background or location is contrasted with the conspicuous, huge, bright yellow flower. The difference between the city and nature is showcased. The location that the flower is drawn in seems to be a city but at the same time, residential. This could show a certain degree of disrespect or what critics would call “vandalism”. The location may have been chosen for a bit of shock value since graffiti is not exactly accepted in residential neighborhoods.
After noticing the enormous flower, with closer observation I observed a drawing of a painter next to the flower. The painter is sitting on a bucket holding a long paint brush with yellow paint on one end. The painter is dressed in casual street clothes with a mask across his face. The flower in comparison with the drawing of the spray painter is huge; therefore the emphasis is put on the flower while the emphasis on the painter is detracted. Also Banksy chose to draw a painter in the first place. We all know that Banksy created this piece of artwork so why draw in a painter? Perhaps he wanted to take the attention away from him, maybe the painter serves to symbolize how the artist is minimalized in comparison with his or her artwork, or maybe it was done just to add cleverness to the artwork.
As for the emotions that the image invokes, there exists an array of possible reactions. For me I saw the flower, its color and size included, as a playful, humorous and overall jovial piece of artwork. The amateurish style of the flower specifically brings ideas of childhood innocence to mind. This is contrasted with the painter who appears to be at least, a teenager and who looks rather serious. When looked at more seriously, the flower, as I stated before, could be calling for peace or environmental awareness and in this case gives off a vibe of unity and social awareness.
February 23, 2009 7:35 AM