Banksy Trend Report Q1

Weston
Super Mare

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Critical Review

Banksy’s Weston Super Mare can be seen as a tribute to the British Seaside Town, but of course undercut by his signature dark humour. The print features a senior citizen sitting on a bench, his hands folded across his lap, his cane resting next to him. He is a figure blissfully unaware of the danger that is approaching him in the form of a circular saw cutting its way through the promenade.

Banksy's former printer, Pictures on Walls, has described the work as "a cheerful tribute to the great British seaside towns, ideal for anyone that has walked the streets screaming “you’re all going to die” at groups of old age pensioners."

The work appears to be suggesting that even the most comfortable among us are still accompanied by the shadow of death at every turn. Despite this dismal prospect, this Banksy print can also be read as uncharacteristically uplifting, as a healthy reminder to make the most of every moment, to stop and take in the view once in a while.

While the man and the bench are depicted in the artist's typical black and white stencil style, the long strip of grey and the sky blue background are more reminiscent of vintage British seaside posters. The resort in question here is Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, where Banksy opened his notorious Dismaland. The project was described by the artist as a ‘bemusement park … a family theme park unsuitable for children.’