There’s all sorts of theories on why Banksy’s NYC-based Better Out Than In work is getting stomped out so quickly. According to one “graffiti historian,” writers don’t like Banksy’s art because he’s “pandering to the mainstream.” But that’s not it, graffiti has always attempted to poke its stick into the mainstream, even while its participants–for the most part–have lived outside of it. So what is it? Graffiti has never had one cohesive voice, so we decided to go right to the people who know the most about it and ask them why they think Banksy is such a target.

Shepard Fairey

To me, it comes down to how much easier it is to tear down what someone else has done than it is to create something yourself. Most of the world is cynical and reactionary… They are jealous of those with the courage to DO something. Success engenders admiration AND contempt. Banksy is a victim of his own success. The democracy of the streets is a double-edged sword, but I pull for the resourceful underdog and I wouldn’t have it any other way and I doubt Banksy would either.

Anyway, there seems to be a distorted narrative in the street art / graff culture that equates a diss or two to “NYC has turned against you.” That’s like saying that JFK’s assassination meant that “America turned against JFK,” or any other absurd generalization.

There are idiots in every niche of culture and the streets have their share. I try to embrace the good and rise above the bullshit. Regardless of how unfortunate it is that his pieces aren’t lasting longer, Banksy wins because he’s doing, while most everyone else is just reacting or worse… talking, so I’ll shut up now.


I think writers in New York create their own rules on the streets.

They are not impressed with someone coming to town trying to create an overnight blitz fame campaign. To gain respect and last streetwise in New York, you need to put down a lot of work and work your way up no matter who you are or how famous you are elsewhere. Writers in New York work extremely hard to stand out and when someone new comes to town and gets a lot attention, writers react. I have a lot of respect for artists and writers in New York. It is not easy to make a mark and last on the streets.

Personally, I like Banksy’s street stuff. His work has a sense of humor and provokes thought. What is exciting is that he is not a public figure and that his only interaction with the public and graffiti is on the streets. Graffiti is a form of self-expression, but also a form of vandalism, so there should be no rules. If you are at a spot and feel like side busting or going over someone that should be part of the scene. Whatever happens to Banksy’s work in New York doesn’t really matter. People get to see it, if not on the wall then in pictures, people talk about it and react. What more can you ask for as an artist? You paint and the world reacts.


I suppose what Sacha Jenkins said is true. However, he and his line-up of artists mentioned in the article are also “pandering to the mainstream” at Redbull Studios.

Banksy probably gets gone over mostly because people are jealous of his fame and money.

He has either mastered the art of public relations, or contracted with an agency and is able to generate huge press and attention that a million tags or throw ups could never achieve.

Street bombers probably feel that it isn’t right for someone who does very little bombing to get so much attention.

Going over Banksy is an easy way for someone to bring a little attention to themselves.



Number 1: Graffiti writers hate. Why would you go over the dude? These graffiti writers get jealous cause he’s gets all the hype. He does a simple stencil with a simple image and a lot graffiti writers feel it’s fake or that it’s not graffiti.

I think it’s kind of wack that people are dissing his shit. They know that Banksy is getting all this hype, so if they cross him out, they get fame. They know people are going to talk about it on the Internet.

Who cares if he’s not considered a graffiti writer or not? He came to New York and he’s doing something dope. Here comes all the haters. I’m not sticking up for the guy; I’m just looking at it.


It’s part of the game. In our eyes his work is no more or less important than other works. It’s just what happens. That’s the beauty.



It is for quick and fast fame.

Bansky is famous, therefore if I rag his stuff, I am famous now too.

People are territorial by nature and NYC graffiti rules has a locals only policy, with some exceptions.

I don’t think it’s more complicated than that.


New York writers, for the most part, think that street artists suck and they give them little to no respect. This should come as no surprise as street artists generally do not give writers respect and will go over a tag or throw-up with a poster without thinking twice about it.

Another reason is that they are looking for quick and easy fame. How? Well, if they cross out Banksy they will be noticed by the masses who are jocking Banksy. It’s a quick and dirty way to get attention. Another reason is simple hate. Who wants some out-of-towner coming in and getting so much attention when there are plenty of artists and writers putting in work on the street that get little to no attention by the media or the masses?

Its fair game to cross this stuff out if they cross you out. Some will even get knocked out from time to time. The competition for space and attention in the streets can be fierce and may writers see street artists as sell-outs that should just stick to the galleries in the first place thus leaving the streets for the writers not the overnight sensations.


We New Yorkers are natural born haters! We pride ourselves on our homegrown products, especially due to the grueling nature of survival in NYC.

Anyway, most people of color don’t really recognize Banksy’s work from any other street art, so it usually jealous white kids crossing him out.

Thus, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass. “Street Art” was created by white people for white people, denying the rich socio-political and ethnically diverse original world of Subway Art it’s proper due acknowledgements!



Several reasons including jealousy, easy mainstream fame, issues with the public/press associating his work with “graffiti,” Team Robbo, etc…

There’s tons of street art in NYC and a lot of it co-exists with graffiti. A lot of graffiti artists dedicate their lives to an art form that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as just one Banksy piece. Some graffiti artists could care less but some just hate on that fact. Some just want an easy way to get fame amongst the mainstream and you can’t blame them because it works.

Banksy’s work is part of pop culture at this point, so it’s also going to create a lot of controversy when there’s mainstream people jumping into the picture and labeling everything he does “graffiti.”

Whether you like it or not, the name Banksy is undoubtedly the most popular name that is associated with graffiti and street art among the masses, even if what he does is not “graffiti.” Since a big part of graffiti has to do with achieving fame, you can see how that causes a bit of a conflict.

Overall, I enjoy the controversy and I feel that it is a positive thing for the culture over time. It makes the masses open up their eyes to something they once ignored.

Sure, a lot of the initial opinions of the public may be “toy” (for lack of a better word), but for those who want to take that extra step and research further, you have someone like Sacha Jenkins educating them. For the art world, the ripple effect of his work can be seen in the rising prices at street art/graffiti auctions.



On this Banksy topic…

After reading the previous stuff I am just uninterested and don’t give a shit to make any kind of meaningful comment.



I didn’t even know Banksy was in town. But then, I read about it in the New York Times, I saw it on the Village Voice. I saw it on PBS and on the Colbert Report.

The spotlight is on Banksy right now. Anything within proximity of his work will likely show up in print, on air, or on the Internet. I suspect there’s a legit handful who have a beef with him, but not many.

No disrespect to anyone, but it seems like they want to hitch their wagon to his star. OMAR is a good example of the attention you can get by going over Banksy.

The rift between graffiti and street art is nothing new. Around 1987 we started transitioning from popping trains to hitting the streets.

I remember when an artist named Rene used to paint his “I am the best artist” murals over one of my pieces. So I made it a point to cross his shit out and go find out where his studio is and even write on his door.

We graffiti writers have a code: You go over us, we’re gonna go over you.


Banksy, via interview with the Village Voice.

I used to think other graffiti writers hated me because I used stencils, but they just hate me.