Banksy: 7 stories from 'The Man Behind the Wall'

Like him or loathe him, English graffiti artist and political activist Banksy has catapulted himself onto the modern art world stage. Using well designed and artfully conceived stencils to make his mark in public spaces from California to Israel, Banksy has achieved global recognition for his art. And yet he has managed to conceal almost every personal detail – including his real name – from the public. "Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall" by journalist Will Ellsworth-Jones is an unauthorized biography that details Banksy's rise to prominence and profiles his outsider/insider status in both the high art world and on the street level. His anonymity is an integral part of his appeal in the Internet age. How can we not know the name of a man whose artistic "face" is recognized around the globe?

1. Infiltration


When Banksy was still relatively unknown, he would sneak his original art into museums and put it up on the walls with little placards describing the piece. Back then, he was described as an "art terrorist" gluing "fake" art up in The Natural History Museum, the Louvre, the Tate, and the British Museum

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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