Contemporary street artist Banksy is well known for dropping politically charged pieces all over the streets of practically every major city in the world. Prints of his works are plastered on canvases and clung to wood frames, mass produced and sent out to hipsters everywhere. His artwork and persona are well respected in not only the street or underground scene, and his messages speak to a lost generation that understands the dark sides of the world, and accepts them for what they are.
Banksy’s identity remains a mystery, existing in a name as a phantom as most street artists prefer. Recently though, with the announcement of the darkly designed art exhibit/theme park for adults called Dismaland, that name is becoming a little more household than people, himself included, may like. The website calls Dismal Land, a bemusement part, and also ‘a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism.’ Its front page also boasts a review from the Guardian calling the place ‘truly depressing, thin, and quite boring.’ And while the idea and the place itself have caught much flack in reviews for being something out of your worst nightmare, I am personally drawn to the art of Banksy and his compatriots, and totally wish I could catch a flight to catch the limited run of what seems like some very amazing three dimensional works of art. Parodies telling truths behind favorite fairy tales set in a dystopian wonderland? Count me in. The website lists all of the exhibits and the artists that contributed, and is worth an extensive look. There has been so much hype already circulating Dismaland that it would behoove readers to peep for themselves the footage and vastly available information on this wild installation.
Another very cool aspect of this whole project, is the incorporation of certain musical acts. Their event page lists performances every Friday night for the duration of the park’s operation, with performances from an eclectic bunch of artists, including DJ Yoda, Run the Jewels, Pussy Riot, and Massive Attack.
As if all of this news wasn’t exciting enough, in a rare plot twist, the elusive (and some say wanted) artist known as Banksy, interviewed Run the Jewels this past week. What more could you want in life than Banksy sitting down and getting real with El-P and Killer Mike? Nothing. Not. A. Thing.
Anyone familiar with Banksy’s work can imagine that his interview questions weren’t exactly traditional. Killer Mike’s speech after the Ferguson announcement brought the artist to tears, and he asked them the last thing that they watched on YouTube that made them cry. They are all apparently some pretty deep dudes, with very healthy emotions. Banksy and Killer Mike share a very deep rooted desire to see change in this world, and that is a beautiful thing. last was choked up over a speech about Marcus Garvey, and El-P recalled a video of men reunited with a lion they saved in the wild. Animal videos, man. They get me every time too.
If the debate about Kanye West being the greatest rock star in the world could be settled between the guys from Run The Jewels, they made it abundantly clear Yeezus has no competition where that is concerned. El-P and Killer Mike show nothing but respect for their colleagues in the music industry, and fellow artists. The give it up for graffiti artists, Banksy and others, and the risks they take to reward the world with their meaningful, beautiful art. The three go on to discuss art and their own artistry, and how they balance being good people while also staying true to their art.
EL-P: Interesting question. We all want recognition and validation to an extent for our art, but greatness as a trade for decency is a risky proposition. In my life I try to leave the people I encounter with the feeling that they have been respected and treated with warmth and appreciation. Being known as honorable is way more important to me. But being that my career is in the public and my personal relationships are ultimately private, I suppose, for the sake of the question, being considered a great artist publicly means a bit more than being considered a nice guy publicly. Although I like to think I am thought of in that way. Point being, I don’t get paid to be a nice guy, I just try to be one.
KM: I don’t know what the hell the future brings. If I did, I would play the lotto and win the mega millions and buy toy cars, real muscle cars, sneakers and art. I cannot lie: as good as it feels to get my deserved props, the best part of reading social media after I meet folks is reading: “Mike was a nice guy”. I believe being honourable lasts longer than rapping good.
See the entire interview here, and peep the Dismaland website for more information on the not so magical bemusement park, which opened yesterday and runs for five weeks only.
Run The Jewels
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