Banksy interview from The Guardian
What is this thing?
In essence it’s a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism. A place where you can get your counterculture easily available over the counter. A theme park for the disenfranchised, with franchises available. I guess you’d say its a theme park whose big theme is – theme parks should have bigger themes.
Where is this thing?
It’s situated in a former lido that stretches across two-and-a-half acres of heavily fortified beachfront compound, comprising a pool, sun terrace and small amphitheatre. I asked myself: what do people like most about going to look at art? The coffee. So I made an art show that has a cafe, a cocktail bar, a restaurant and another bar. And some art.
Why is this thing?
If you’re the kind of person who feels jaded by the over-corporate blandness that passes for family light entertainment, then this is the bespoke leisure opportunity that will connect with your core brand dynamic. It doesn’t so much ask the question, “What is the point in art now?” as ask, “What is the point in asking, ‘What is the point in art now?’”
You’ve described low-income families as “the perfect art audience”. Why?
“Low-income holidaymakers” are the perfect art audience. There’s something very evocative about the British seaside experience. This show is modelled on the failed winter wonderlands they build every December that get shut down by trading standards – where they charge £20 to look at some alsatians with antlers taped to their heads towing a sleigh made from a skip. Essentially this is a theme park that Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen would endorse. The advantage of putting art in a small seaside town is you’re only competing with donkeys.I think a museum is a bad place to look at art; the worst context for art is other art.
What do you care about showcasing other artists?
Curating can be surprisingly creative: you get to learn from people, draw parallels and create meanings, all without having to pick up a pencil or get out of bed.
Have you turned your back on street art?
For this show, yes.
How do you feel when your work is resold or removed?
I don’t think much about it, but for the art form as a whole it’s unhealthy. When you paint illegally you have so much to contend with – cameras, cops, Neighbourhood Watch, drunk people throwing bottles at your head – so adding “predatory art speculators” to the mix just makes things even harder. Graffiti is an important and valid art form, it would be a shame if it was killed by venture capitalism.
Do you think that the art market poisons creativity?
The art market certainly doesn’t encourage creativity. Like most markets it rewards being able to reliably deliver recognisable product on a regular basis. Which isn’t necessarily a recipe for exciting art. I heard someone on the radio, it might even have been Richard Ashcroft, say: “It’s not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster.” Which is why I’ve spent months making distorted fibreglass fairground sculptures to install in a dirty lido miles from anywhere.
Did you vote Tory at the last election?