Banksy murals have been painted in a string of diverse locations including London, Los Angeles, Bethlehem and the West Bank, since 2000. These large-scale pieces have tackled issues ranging from capitalist consumerism and the British Royal Family to the anti-war movement, Israel-Palestine Conflict, and more recently, Covid-19.
Despite the apparent seriousness of his subject matter, Banksy is always sure to throw a bit of his trademark, establishment-mocking humour into the mix.
Where are these Banksy murals? Find out in this article, where we take a look at some of the most important wall art made by Banksy since 2000.
In 2000, Banksy dropped the traditional, ‘Wild Style’-inspired lettering used in his standout freehand pieces like The Mild Mild West (1997) – his first large-scale mural – opting in favour of what has since become his most trusted artistic tool: the stencil.
Here are some of his first – and most famous – large-scale murals, executed during the early 2000s.
Comprising twelve individual stencils, this work was painted on the 31st of May 2001 onto a wall in East London’s Rivington Street.
Featuring recognisable images, such as Monkey Detonator and Flower Thrower, amongst others, the work formed part of Banksy’s first-ever ‘exhibition’ — of sorts.
Explaining the origins of the piece, Banksy once said: ‘We came out of a pub one night arguing about how easy it would be to hold an exhibition in London without asking anyone permission. As we walked through a tunnel in Shoreditch someone said – ‘You’re wasting your time, why would you want to paint pictures in a dump like this?’’
This now iconic image first appeared as a black-and-white stencil in East London’s Shoreditch in 2001.
Now synonymous with Banksy’s internationally recognisable Street Art brand, the simple yet effective piece has since been reproduced as a limited edition print and appeared in two of Banksy’s art monographs: Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall (2001) and Wall And Piece (2005).
To see our available Bomb Love prints, click here.
First commissioned by Brighton nightclub Ocean Rooms in 2002, Laugh Now has become one of Banksy’s most recognisable works.
Following more than a decade of political turmoil in the UK, the piece has proved somewhat prophetic…
To explore our Laugh Now prints, click here.
Chosen as the ‘nation’s favourite artwork’ in 2017, Girl With Balloon first appeared as an in situ stencil piece in 2002. Painted on a wall under Waterloo Bridge at London’s Southbank, the iconic work has since served as the basis for Banksy’s high-profile art stunt, Love Is In The Bin.
To learn more about Girl with Balloon, and our available editions, click here.
Painted on the sidewall of a former social club in Bristol’s Eastville district in 2002, this work – which portrays a Gorilla wearing a pink sleep mask – was inadvertently painted over in 2011.
In 2020, the piece appeared at auction, having been removed from the building by an art restoration company, on behalf of the owner.
Placing his politics at the heart of his work, in 2002-2005 Banksy produced a number of politically engaged pieces in London and Palestine.
Juxtaposing the world-famous Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament (CND) symbol – often referred to as the ‘peace’ symbol – and two soldiers, this politically engaged work was first painted on a wall very close to the UK’s Houses of Parliament.
Depicting a masked man throwing a bouquet of flowers in the direction of the West Bank Wall, Love Is In The Air plays with iconographies of resistance in the context of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. It first appeared in Jerusalem in 2003.
Completed in 2005, this simple yet daring work is one of many Banksy painted on the West Bank Wall – a 425-mile-long barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories.
Painted during Banksy’s visit to Ramallah, Palestine, this work split local opinion. One man said that the painting made the wall beautiful. Thanking him, Banksy was told: ‘We don’t want it to be beautiful. We hate this wall. Go home.’
Now one of the most famous Banksy works, The Grim Reaper first adorned the side of the Thekla – a boat-come-club in Bristol harbour.
In 2015, it was removed from the boat for safeguarding.
Depicting Californian cultist and serial killer Charles Manson as a hitchhiker, this stencil-based work first appeared close to Archway Tube Station in 2005.
This work was later defaced as part of the Banksy-King Robbo feud.
Painted on the walls of a sexual health clinic at the foot of Bristol’s famous Park Street, Well-Hung Lover is both a classic example of Banksy’s unrivalled humour and a major tourist attraction.
In its 16-year life span, the piece has been vandalised on several occasions.
Another reflection of Banksy’s engagement in societal and global affairs, this piece is said to represent the inaction of the Western world in the face of rising challenges, such as climate change and poverty. It depicts Leanne, an employee of a Los Angeles hotel once frequented by Banksy.
Depicting an angel in a bulletproof vest, this reflective work was painted in tribute to the graffiti artist ‘Ozone’, who died when he and his fellow artist ‘Wants’ were struck by a train while out painting in Barking, East London.
In 2008, Banksy travelled to New Orleans in the southern United States. Three years prior, the area had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, which claimed over 1,800 lives. In these works, Banksy reminds us of the weather event’s devastating effects – and the inaction of the US government at the time.
Later in 2008, Banksy executed artworks in London, Hollywood and even Timbuktu: the capital of Mali.
14 versions of this work – which depicts a young girl holding an umbrella – appeared all over the Marigny neighbourhood of New Orleans.
The work has a metaphorical quality: rather than protecting her from the rain, the young girl’s umbrella is soaking her in water. Like much of Banksy’s politically pointed œuvre, this piece comments on the all too limited role of the US government in the post-Katrina cleanup.
In this image, Banksy tackles the issues of hunger head-on. So empty is the fridge that a young boy uses it as a kite.
Produced during a trip to the far-flung capital of Mali, Washing Zebra Stripes portrays a woman hanging out a zebra’s stripes to dry.
One of Banksy’s most well-known murals, Very Little Helps was painted on the side of a pharmacy in London’s Essex Road. The work decries British supermarket chain Tesco, which at the time was planning to open yet another premises just around the corner.
Wallpaper Hanging was painted underneath the headquarters of the London Transport Police offices in Camden, London in 2009. Gracing the same canal-side wall as one of London’s first-ever graffiti pieces, executed by King Robbo in 1985, Wallpaper Hanging became the first artistic episode in a longstanding tit-for-tat feud between the rival artists.
Also painted at London’s Regent’s Canal, this work sought to draw attention to the climate crisis, as well as the apparent failure of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, which took place during the same year.
A standout work in Banky’s œuvre, Choose Your Weapon first appeared on the walls of The Grange Pub in Bermondsey, South East London. It has since appeared in a number of original prints by the artist, released via now-defunct print house, Pictures On Walls.
Painted that same year in San Francisco.
Product of Banksy’s 2010 tour around Toronto, this work seems to reference American artist Jeff Koons’s Celebration series and the larger-than-life Balloon Dog sculptures.
Park City, Utah.
First seen at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Making another swipe at British supermarket corporation, Tesco, Tesco Sandcastle was one of a number of works Banksy erected in locations across England’s south coast in 2010.
This appeared alongside other British South Coast murals from this year by Banksy such as No Future, (Southhampton) and I Love You (Isle of Wight).
Also painted in London that same year.
A reference to the News International Phone Hacking Scandal, which reached its height in 2011, this work sees a stick figure exclaim the words ‘Oh no… my tap’s been phoned!’.
Painted in Camden’s Jeffrey Street, this piece references TOX – real name Daniel Halpin – one of the most prolific graffiti taggers in London’s history. Here, Banksy comes to the aid of his fellow writer, who was criticised by authorities as being ‘no Banksy’ due to his lack of creative flair.
2012 – 2015 were eventful years for Banksy.
In 2012, the Olympics – held in Stratford, East London – gave the artist plenty of material for several new stencil-based works. Each of these sought to unpick the hypocrisies of the Games, as well as what Banksy saw as the cynical regeneration, for the Olympics, of one’s London’s most deprived boroughs: Newham.
Later, in 2013, Banksy embarked on a month-long residency in New York City. Entitled Better Out Than In, the residency saw him complete over 25 unique murals in locations across the Big Apple, from Staten Island and Brooklyn to Hell’s Kitchen and The Bowery.
Highlighting the juxtaposition between the glitz and glamour of the 2012 London Olympic Games and the relative poverty of surrounding boroughs, namely Hackney and Newham, this piece features a pole vaulter leaping over a decrepit barbed wire fence.
A visual protest against the use of sweatshops for the manufacture of memorabilia for Queen Elisabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, in 2012 this work appeared on the side of a Poundland store in Wood Green, North London.
This work was also accompanied by London Calling and Police Sniper in London and Bristol respectively that same year.
Perhaps the most recognisable image from Banksy’s 2013 residency in New York City, as well as the first, The Street Is In Play satirises the contradictions in public opinion surrounding graffiti, on the one hand, and street art, on the other.
Throughout Banksy’s residency, which saw him produce over 25 illegal works for each day of the month, no official complaints were made to police. Owners of buildings targeted by Banksy were happy with the artworks, with some even going out of their way to protect them from vandalism.
Some other key works produced in his New York residency include Waiting in Vain, Fake Plato Quote, Tagular and Robot and Barcode.
The title of this piece references a quote by French Impressionist, Paul Cézanne: ‘All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.’
Employing social mores and geopolitical events as a key source of inspiration once again, Banksy’s work in 2014-2020 responded to a number of key moments in what has proved a particularly turbulent period of recent history.
From the Syrian Civil War through to immigration debates, Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, 2014-2020 saw Banksy leave no stone left unturned.
In this period, Banksy turned increasingly to using his artworks as means to benefit local communities and charitable organisations.
Painted 1 week prior to a parliamentary byelection, triggered by a Conservative MPs defection to the right-wing populist UK Independence Party (UKIP), this work drew attention to a rising tide of intolerance and racism both within the UK’s political scene, and outside of it.
The irony of the piece was lost on local councillors, however, who deemed it ‘offensive and racist’ and saw it removed. Well, you can’t win them all…
Painted in Calais, Northern France – once the location of the so-called ‘Jungle’ refugee and migrant camp – this work depicts Apple founder, the late Steve Jobs, as a migrant fleeing from war. Striking for its likeness, the stencil-based portrait draws attention to Jobs’ Syrian roots, as well as the hypocrisy of governments’ anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Banksy’s first artistic comment on the outcome of the UK’s 2016 European Union Referendum, this work depicts a man chipping away at one of the EU flag’s 12 stars.
Erected in the leave-voting town of Dover, a flashpoint in widespread post-Brexit customs delays, the work was since been removed.
Banksy’s artful intervention in Port Talbot, the South Wales home of the Port Talbot Steelworks, has caused quite a controversy since its completion in 2018.
Many had hoped the Banksy artwork would help to rejuvenate the town and surrounding area – one of the most polluted and impoverished in Wales.
Targeted by vandals – and English art dealers – the work was sadly removed from Wales, and the community it was designed to benefit, in 2022.
This work appeared in Birmingham in Christmas 2019. It was eventually sold for £2,3000, with all proceeds donated to Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) – a UK-based organisation aiding homeless people.
Covid-19 and the so-called ‘mask debate’ served as the central theme behind this standout Banksy work, which was erected inside a London Underground train in 2020.
Part of the work featured the words ‘I get lockdown, but I get up again’, in reference to Chumbawumba’s chart-topping hit of the ‘90s, ‘Tubthumping’.
Due to Transport for London’s anti-graffiti policy, the artwork – whose creation was documented on Banksy’s Instagram account – was later removed.
In 2021, Banksy turned his hand to other charitable causes, creating an artwork on the walls of Reading Prison. With the UK still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, the summer of 2021 saw Banksy embark on his own ‘Great British Spraycation’. Visiting a number of locations in East Anglia, including Great Yarmouth, Cromer, Lowestoft, Gorleston, and Oulton Broad – all in the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk – Banksy’s trip was designed to boost tourism in Britain’s ‘forgotten’ seaside towns.
In each location, Banksy produced one of his signature stencil artworks, depicting subjects including seagulls, rats, and even an arcade claw grabber.
Appearing overnight on the walls of Reading Prison – where, following his relationship with Alfred Lord Douglas, Oscar Wilde was once incarcerated for ‘gross indecency’ – Reading Prison Escapee is part of Banksy’s plan to turn the derelict ‘Gaol’ into an arts and culture centre.
2021 was a very busy year for Banksy with the artist completing many wokrs across the UK, including Aachoo!! (Bristol), Hula Hoop Girl (Radford, Nottingham), Reclining Rat (Lowestoft, Suffolk), Luxury Rentals Only (Cromer, Norfolk), Swooping Seagull (Lowestoft, Suffolk), Banksy Model Village (Great Yarmouth, Norfolk), Banksy Amusement Arcade Crane (Gorleston, Norfolk),Couple Dancing (Great Yarmouth, Norfolk), Crowbar Girl (Lowestoft) and We’re All In The Same Boat (Lowestoft).
So far, it seems Banksy has spent much of 2022 laying low.
While question marks remain over the elusive artist’s current activities, one thing is sure:
There are certainly many more Banksy murals on the way.