From Bieber to Bono, Banksy’s playful yet hard-hitting work attracts some of the most influential people on earth. His popularity is reflected in how sought after his works have become on the market, demonstrated by the sale of his famed work Love Is In The Bin. The faceless ‘it-boy’ of urban and contemporary himself, it is no wonder that many celebrities have a Banksy in their own collection.
The pop sensation and record producer Robbie Williams is obsessed with Banksy for his disruptive and satirical works. Among Williams’ collection, are three iconic original works: Girl With Balloon (2002), Kissing Coppers (2005) and Vandalised Oil (Choppers) (2005), each due to be offered in Sotheby’s upcoming The Now Evening Auction, early March 2022. The musician has spoken of his love of Banksy, commenting:
“I love its subversiveness, images of authority figures, stuff in the news, everyday life. It upends what is considered respectful. Banksy’s work appeared when I was just getting into art - and they were the best things I’d seen.”
Banksy’s subversive oil painting Sunflowers from Petrol Station, sold at Christie’s in November 2021 from the collection of Sir Paul Smith. This is not the only Banksy in the British designer’s vast art collection however. In Smith’s Nottingham archive, housing much of his collection that can’t be stored elsewhere, sits Banksy’s CongestionCharge from 2004, another piece centred around the climate crisis.
Smith has said of Banksy: "What initially attracted me to Banksy was his confidence and clarity to communicate something exactly as it is. I was so impressed by his observations of what was happening in the world and that remains true of the work he’s doing today."
The enfant terrible of the artworld, Damien Hirst, is said to have several artworks by Banksy in his personal art collection, Murderme. Hirst’s love for Banksy is well known and unsurprising considering the pair's shared tendencies towards shocking and disrupting the artworld. The two even collaborated on a piece in 2013 titled ‘Sorry the lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock’, sold at Sotheby’s for $2.3 million.
Notably, Hirst is a fan of Banksy’s iconic Napalm motif that depicts the naked Vietnamese girl alongside Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald. The Spots artist has commented: ‘He’s a surrealist who makes you think about the world in a completely different way.’
The supermodel is a friend of Banksy and as a surprise wedding present in 2011, the guerrilla artist painted a mural version of the Kate Moss artwork in the bathroom of her Highgate mansion. The mural is rumoured to be valued at up to £200,000.
In 2013, Drake posted on instagram without much context to show off his purchase of a Banksy Artist Proof. The rapper and singer captioned an image of the 2004 Banksy artwork with ‘Who Dat,’ showing only the corner of the unknown piece.
Supercouple of the 2000s and early 2010s, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are two of the most famous celebrities to own a Banksy. In 2007, Brangelina dropped £1 million on a number of Banksy artworks from Lazarides Gallery in London’s Soho. Later in 2012, Pitt commissioned a bespoke Banksy mural on Hurricane Katrina, covering a wall in Brad and Angelina’s private art gallery. It is unknown what the fallout of their divorce meant for their art collection.
Pitt’s love for and long relationship with Banksy is undeniable and even caused quite a stir when he had VIP access to Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition in Weston-Super-Mare in 2015.
Commissioned in 2011, rock star Bono was the reason behind the appearance of the Banksy mural Sweeping It Under The Carpet, that was stencilled onto a wall in North London. The commission was motivated by the U2 frontman’s wish to highlight the West’s inaction towards the AIDS crisis in Africa and is yet another example of Banksy’s benevolence as a street artist.
Think you’re Banksy’s biggest fan? Thought about getting his iconic Girl With Balloon motif tattooed onto your body? Well, Justin Bieber has!
Back in 2016, Bieber posted a picture of his Banksy-inspired tattoo on his instagram and the street artist rapidly responded via Facebook. Tagging the Pop singer, Banksy reposted the instagram picture and captioned it: ‘Controversial’.
The Coldplay lead singer is yet another famous musician who has taken a liking to Banksy. Chris Martin bid for the Banksy artwork, Heart Balloon, at a charity auction in 2014, raising £400,000 for those affected by the Haiti earthquake. This trumped bids from the likes of Bette Midler and Kevin Bacon, and it was said that Martin bought the artwork for his then-wife Gwyneth Paltrow.
Iconic British pop star George Michael owns two Banksy artworks, for which he paid £400,000. Years later, Michael dropped a cool £2 million on a bespoke Banksy mural for his London home in 2012. It is unknown where Michael’s Banksy’s are now following his tragic death in 2016.
So many well known and famous faces are obsessed with Banksy but his identity still remains unknown. Maybe some of the above mentioned celebs who have befriended the street artist could give us some clarity on this? Read our list of myths around the guerrilla artist’s identity.