Banksy: A National Treasure?

Written by - Joe Syer
Er... Sorry by Banksy - MyArtBrokerEr... Sorry © Banksy 2017
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
[email protected]

Interested in buying or selling
Banksy?

Browse artworks

Why is Banksy so popular? What is it about Banksy that captures our hearts and minds? Is Banksy a national treasure? Does Banksy represent Britain as a society? We wanted to find out, so we asked the public what they thought the key to the artist's success is... the results are in.

Plenty of art critics and social commentators have speculated and provided their critique of Banksy’s art, but nobody has actually asked people properly…Until now.

As part of our ongoing research into the art world & society, we polled over 1400 members of the British public to lift the lid on their love, or not, of the elusive Artist.

Much like his Art, here is what MyArtBroker.com discovered in a powerful, simple & easy to appreciate way!

Why is Banksy so popular? And why do people like Banksy's art?

When asked why they liked Banksy so much, 42% of people polled said Banksy’s art is powerful yet simple to appreciate. 39% said it was politically charged yet cheeky.

When asked how Banksy’s art makes them feel, people said: 51% Thoughtful. 24% happy. 22% Rebellious.

None however said Banksy’s art made them feel stupid as suggested by Jonathan Jones of The Guardian, who said Girl with Balloon being voted Britain’s best loved piece of art last year, was proof of our stupidity. Really Jonathan?

66% of respondents said Banksy inspires them.

Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja once said in front of a packed concert “We are all Banksy” when he addressed rumours of him being the Artist. When asked if Banksy represented them as a person, 45% of respondents said Yes. 28% were unsure in their response. Robert Del Naja was not too far off the mark in essence it seems.

77% of respondents said Banksy’s artwork was easier to understand and explain than other artists.

But is Banksy’s art… real art?

Well, MyArtBroker.com asked that question. 93% of respondents said yes.

Further proof of how Banksy can be compared to some of the great established contemporary artists such as Warhol & Lichtenstein is 66% of respondents said Banksy’s artwork is “complex and deeply emotive”.

In just one example of this, in 2022, in addition to his series of murals in Ukraine, located from Kyiv to Borodyanka, Banksy expressed his solidarity with the country following Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion, with a powerful print raising money for Ukraine, through the Legacy of War Foundation. The screenprint, titled Agile, exemplifies Banksy's sensitivity, and capacity to wrap up nuanced meanings in emotive imagery; the work features a rat in freefall, with shipping label "FRAGILE" that makes a clear statement about Ukraine's infrastructure. Though falling, the rat scratches out the first two letters of the label, to re-coin the Ukrainian people 'Agile', testimony to the endurance and resiliant spirit of those affected by the war.

90% of respondents said Banksy has made contemporary art more accessible to people.

89% of respondents said museums such as The National Gallery and MoMA should preserve and show artwork by Banksy.

It seems Banksy is proof that real art does not always have to be ambiguous and difficult. Well, MyArtBroker.com asked that question. 93% of respondents said yes.

Further proof of how Banksy can be compared to some of the great established contemporary artists such as Warhol & Lichtenstein is 66% of respondents said Banksy’s artwork is “complex and deeply emotive”.

It seems Banksy is proof that real art does not always have to be ambiguous and difficult.

So how popular is Banksy? Really?

67% of people said Banksy is a national treasure and cultural export like the Royal Family.

When asked who they think represents British society the best: 53% said Banksy. 42% said the Royal Family. 5% said the Church of England.

If Banksy was ever arrested and charged for his street art, 57% of people asked would donate to a crowdfunder for his defence.

If people were given a hypothetical choice to purchase either a new Porsche 911 or a original signed Banksy print, 45% said Banksy, 43% said the car. And those who chose the Banksy print, arguably have the right idea: Banksy prints make a great alternative asset, that compares well to others, including gold.

For more, read our Banksy & Blue-Chip Contemporary Prints as Alternative Assets article.

So who do people think Banksy is?

Of all the conspiracy theories, some with a lot more evidence than others, the results show people in reality actually don’t want to know, although they have been influenced by the media reporting.

52% of people think Banksy is a collective of individuals.

20% of people think Banksy is Robin Gunningham.

13% of people think Banksy is Robert Del Naja.

48% of people think Banksy should remain anonymous.

Ian Syer of MyArtBroker.com said: “now we have definitive reasons as to why Banksy is so popular. Not only does Banksy capture the hearts and minds of all generations, the art produced is also considered to be complex and emotive yet simple to digest and appreciate. It is an incredibly rare and pleasant combination in the art world and one which is being reflected in the rapidly rising prices of his work in the secondary market. Banksy is a national treasure and one we should all be proud of.”

Read our Banksy Market Watch to discover the top 10 most investable Banksy prints for 2023.

Buy and sell artworks

Napalm - Unsigned Print by Banksy 2004 - MyArtBroker
Napalm 
BanksyUnsigned Print 

£12,500-£19,000 VALUE (EST.)

$24,000-$35,000 VALUE (EST.)

$21,000-$30,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥110,000-¥170,000 VALUE (EST.)

14,500-22,000 VALUE (EST.)

$120,000-$180,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥2,290,000-¥3,480,000 VALUE (EST.)

$15,000-$24,000 VALUE (EST.)

28% AAGR (5YR)

TradingFloor

2 for sale
55 in network
36 want this
I Fought The Law - Signed Print by Banksy 2004 - MyArtBroker
I Fought The Law 
BanksySigned Print 

£40,000-£60,000 VALUE (EST.)

$80,000-$110,000 VALUE (EST.)

$70,000-$100,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥360,000-¥540,000 VALUE (EST.)

45,000-70,000 VALUE (EST.)

$380,000-$580,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥7,250,000-¥10,880,000 VALUE (EST.)

$50,000-$70,000 VALUE (EST.)

17% AAGR (5YR)

TradingFloor

1 for sale
16 in network
31 want this
Choose Your Weapon (lemon) - Signed Print by Banksy 2010 - MyArtBroker
Choose Your Weapon (lemon) 
BanksySigned Print 

£90,000-£140,000 VALUE (EST.)

$170,000-$270,000 VALUE (EST.)

$150,000-$230,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥810,000-¥1,270,000 VALUE (EST.)

100,000-160,000 VALUE (EST.)

$870,000-$1,360,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥16,480,000-¥25,640,000 VALUE (EST.)

$110,000-$170,000 VALUE (EST.)

31% AAGR (5YR)

TradingFloor

1 for sale
2 in network
13 want this
Di-Faced Tenners - Signed Print by Banksy 2004 - MyArtBroker
Di-Faced Tenners 
BanksySigned Print 

£45,000-£70,000 VALUE (EST.)

$90,000-$130,000 VALUE (EST.)

$70,000-$120,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥410,000-¥630,000 VALUE (EST.)

50,000-80,000 VALUE (EST.)

$440,000-$680,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥8,240,000-¥12,820,000 VALUE (EST.)

$60,000-$90,000 VALUE (EST.)

24% AAGR (5YR)

TradingFloor

17 in network
17 want this
Jack & Jill - Unsigned Print by Banksy 2005 - MyArtBroker
Jack & Jill 
BanksyUnsigned Print 

£18,000-£27,000 VALUE (EST.)

$35,000-$50,000 VALUE (EST.)

$30,000-$45,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥160,000-¥240,000 VALUE (EST.)

21,000-30,000 VALUE (EST.)

$170,000-$260,000 VALUE (EST.)

¥3,300,000-¥4,950,000 VALUE (EST.)

$22,000-$35,000 VALUE (EST.)

25% AAGR (5YR)

TradingFloor

44 in network
10 want this

Track Your Collection

Supply and Demand in Real Time

What to Invest in Now