The elusive graffiti artist speaks out.

World-renowned street artist Banksy has New Yorkers on a frenzied treasure hunt for his new works, popping up daily on walls and doors across the city. (The Telegraph has made a helpful map to track his "show" so far). The artist is calling his month-long "residency" in New York "Better Out Than In."

He's been mostly elusive. But today, the Village Voice published a rare interview with Banksy, whose real name is unknown. The artist chose the Voice because he "feels an affinity with people who provide content for free on street corners."

Banksy has found tremendous success in gallery exhibitions and auctions in recent years, following international fame for his stenciled graffiti replete with political and social commentary. Judging from his email exchange with the Voice, Banksy is experiencing successful artist angst -- am I making too much money to be a real artist? He wrote to the Voice, "Commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist. We're not supposed to be embraced in that way."

Banksy says he wanted to return to street art. He chose to do so in New York because of its high foot traffic, bounty of hiding places, and well, good pizza.

But even if Banksy wants to reject commercial success, he can’t keep away the popular attention. On day one of his residency, Banksy launched an Instagram account. As soon as he posts a new work, fans are out hunting. They all know the art could disappear any moment. 

Check out Banksy's mark on New York so far (in chronological order), and some ways the public has responded. 

On day 5, a moving truck was the apparatus for Banksy's work.

On day 6, it was a video.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  2. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  3. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  4. Maps

    Mapping the Growing Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers

    Mapping job openings with available employees in major U.S. cities reveals a striking spatial mismatch, according to a new Urban Institute report.

  5. Protestors hold a sign that reads "Respect Democracy Our Vote Matters"

    The Conservative Backlash Against Progressive Ballot Measures

    In many states, ballot initiatives on expanding Medicaid, limiting gerrymandering, and raising the minimum wage swept to victory in November. Now lawmakers are doing their best to reverse them.