Perhaps one of the world’s most well-known and celebrated graffiti artists, Banksy has produced an incredible number of works during his career. For some people, his art is impressive, thoughtful, ironic, and humorous while for others they consist of just plain vandalism of property No matter your opinion, these 50 iconic and famous Banksy artworks will no doubt leave you in agreement that Banksy is talented at what he does.
1.Banksy Valentines Day Marsh Lane Piece – Bristol
On Thursday the 13th of February 2020, this artwork appeared on the side of a building in Barton Hill just overnight.
Residents discovered the workaround 6:20 in the morning where a child, possibly cupid, is shown with a slingshot shooting flowers above her.
2.Escaping Prisoner – Reading Prison
This graffiti work shows a man dressed in a prisoner’s outfit scaling the side of the Reading prison with a rope.
Underneath him, there is a chain made of paper coming out of a typewriter, where some consider this to be an allusion to the poet Oscar Wilde.
3.Hula Hoop Girl – Nottingham
This piece shows a young girl hula hooping using a bicycle wheel while the real bicycle is chained to a lamp post nearby. When asked, a local shop owner spoke about a blacked-out van parked in the spot, which sat there for two hours. The artist is said to have winked when asked who he was.
In the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham at Christmas, these reindeer are painted on a wall and appear to be pulling the bench that homeless people use as a bed.
The purpose of the painting is to empower those who sleep rough and draw more attention to them.
This piece is located on two sides of a garage, where it seems to show a child playing in the snow at Christmas time.
However, on the other side, there is an image of a burning bin – the “snow” the child is playing with is in fact ash and dust from this fire.
6.Million Pound Banksy Art Left in Shreds
Perhaps more of a stunt than an artwork. Once, when a one-million-pound piece of Banksy art was being sold at an auction, the piece shred through an inbuilt shredder – now considered to be one of the most famous Banksy artworks.
This was much to the surprise of the guests, who all wondered: Was Banksy there?
7.The Mild Mild West – Bristol
Many people consider this piece to be referring to the Bristol riots in the 1980s. It could also be a reference to the 1990s, there were apparently many unlicensed parties occurring in Bristol at various warehouses around the city, where police assaulted many people who attended such parties.
8.Rage, Flower Thrower – Jerusalem (One of the widely shared artworks of Banksy)
Created in Jerusalem in 2003, this work is considered to be one of the most famous Banksy artworks, represents a symbol of peace and hope to many people, especially in the face of destruction, death, and calamity. Although the rioter is throwing a Molotov cocktail, it is instead a bunch of flowers.
9.One Nation Under CCTV – London
One of the artist’s largest pieces, it is unknown exactly how he managed to pull this off. This would have been especially difficult considering the work appears to be right next to a CCTV camera.
He would have needed 3 stories of scaffolding just to get to the level required, as well as through a security fence.
10.This Is Not A Photo Opportunity – Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
White stenciled words “This is not a Photo Opportunity” are placed 40m up a path in the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.
Although it has been eroded since it first appeared sometime around the year 2004, the outline of the words is still visible today.
This artwork features a young girl hugging a bomb. The point of the work is to symbolize the horror and dangers of war juxtaposed with the innocent life of a little girl.
Both inherent good and evil are shown here when peace should be the only way.
12. Snorting Policeman – London
Perhaps a dig at the immoral practices and corruption that the police force sometimes adheres to, this artwork is often accompanied by several miles of dribbled paint leading to the stencil.
It has appeared in several places across London but gets taken down fairly quickly too.
13.Sweep it Under the Carpet – London
This art piece, one of the celebrated Banksy paintings, depicts a maid sweeping dirt from the floor under a cover hiding a brick wall.
Most notably, it is suggested that this piece represents the denial and the reluctance of western countries to deal with a variety of different global issues, sweeping them under the carpet.
14.Child Soldier – Los Angeles, USA
A recurring theme of children and weapons, the child soldier with a machine gun appeared in Los Angeles in the USA in 2011.
The point was to highlight the innocence of children being corrupted with weapons, especially in some countries around the world where this occurs.
15.Guantanamo Bay Detainee – London
Many terror suspects are detained in Guantanamo Bay, and this piece by Banksy is meant to show the secret war on terror that has taken place during the actual war on terror declared after the events of 9/11.
Ultimately, the society we live in is not a free one.
16.Slave Labour – London
During the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, this Banksy graffiti work shows a child laborer working.
This work, however, was to produce union jack bunting for the event. The piece was removed quickly by a group auctioning Banksy’s work.
17.Kissing Coppers – Brighton
Banksy’s work often has it in for the police, but this piece is also aimed at homophobic people.
Brighton has a large population of gay people, so the positioning of this piece was intentional. Following several vandal attempts, the piece was removed and sold by the owner of the pub.
18.Police Sniper – London
Next to a police sniper on top of a building, there is a small boy positioned behind him. The paper bag about to be explored by the child is bound to give the sniper a shock.
This piece was originally positioned opposite the Bristol Children’s Hospital but was replaced once someone vandalized it.
19.Lenin Punk – Weston-Super-Mare
Amongst the groups of people, Banksy’s art picks on, choosing world leaders and dictators to mock is a common theme.
The ex-Soviet dictator Lenin was given a punk rocker makeover by Banksy in 1997 outside a public toilet in Weston-Super-Mare.
20.Cash Machine Girl – London
In this work, Banksy has produced an image of a young girl being grabbed by a cash machine, and the art in its current form was first seen in 2007.
It has been suggesting that the art’s message is one of anti-capitalism, where Banksy is decrying banks and the methods, they use to bring in their customers.
21.Follow Your Dreams – Cancelled – Boston
Depicting in this work is an average-looking painter, who has painted the words “follow your dreams”.
However, it would seem following your dreams is not always possible. He looks quite sad because the word “cancelled” has been stamped over his work in a striking red box.
22.Rodeo Cowboy Kid – New York
Rodeo Cowboy Kid was first spotted in New York. Making use of a big hole in the building’s paintwork, Banksy recommissioned the wall for his purposes, painting a small cowboy riding the hole in the wall as if it was a bull.
23.There is Always Hope – London
This is often considered to be Banksy’s most iconic piece of work. The words “There Is Always Hope” are written near a young girl, who is reaching for a heart-shaped balloon.
Many have debated over the years on the purpose of this work, but most settle on ideas of love, the innocence of children, and hope.
24.The Thinker Monkey
This work is considered to have been a canvas work before it ever became a graffiti work.
This thinking monkey seems to suggest the intelligence of other beings, and Banksy may be poking fun at humans who consider us to be the only ones with intelligence. All the same, a thinking monkey may just be played for a laugh.
25.Keep your coins, I won’t change – Melbourne.
This piece, one of the famous Banksy artworks, was found in Melbourne, Australia. Depicted is a homeless man who does not want physical money but seeks real, lasting social change.
The ability to change one’s life and circumstances are far more valuable. However, this may or may not be a product of Banksy, and it has never been confirmed.
26.If Graffiti Changed Anything, it would be Illegal – London.
The graffiti artwork depicts a rat with red paint on its paw and a red paw print on the wall next to him.
Banksy painted the phrase “If Graffiti Changed Anything, it would be Illegal”, a possible swipe at the government and how voting as an individual never changes anything.
27.Flying Balloon Girl
Painted on a wall in Israel’s West Bank in 2005, this is one of Banksy’s most well-known and most political messages.
Many people who view it consider it to be a piece that comments on the innocent children who are stuck in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, longing for freedom from the fighting.
28.Interest in People – Toronto
Appearing on the side of a clothing shop, this Banksy piece depicts a salesman. This production is an undeniable jab at our capitalist societies where the respect for our sales and our goods often outdoes our respect for people.
This graffiti was painted over by the staff of the store, only a few days later.
This work shows a small, young boy in street clothes in the Ghetto, holding onto his teddy and a music blaster. Below him, a dance mat is painted onto the pavement.
During this time in 2009, there was apparently a lot of child involvement in the gangs of the area, and many consider this piece to comment on this.
30.GCHQ Government Spies Telephone Box – Cheltenham
This artwork shows a group of individuals in the 1950’s garb listening to a conversation in a telephone box. This technique was exposed by a former CIA operative and the house where this is painted on is close to the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters.
Napalm Girl was created in 2004 by Banksy and it shows an image of the girl from the infamous photograph of the napalm bombing during the Vietnam war.
Juxtaposed with the distraught child are Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse, an attack on consumerism and the life of children.
32.Stop and Search (Girl and a Soldier) – Bethlehem
This artwork was produced by Banksy in Bethlehem in 2007. Instead of a soldier frisking a child, the viewer notes a role reversal where an innocent child is seen frisking an armed soldier.
Although it has been faded over time, this work is still able to be seen in Bethlehem.
33.Hammer Boy – Manhattan, New York
In 2013, Banksy had a “New York Residency” for his art and this creation was produced during this time. In this work, Banksy made use of features around the work to supplement his unique style and produces a young boy with a large mallet hammering away.
34.Peaceful Hearts Doctor – San Franciso
In this piece produced in 2010, Banksy depicts a traditional doctor alongside a heart and a peace symbol.
The work was covered in plexiglass at one point to preserve it, but it has since been vandalized by people pouring black paint into the glass.
35.Looting Soldiers – New Orleans
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, widespread looting occurred across the city of New Orleans. This work is a comment on the looting that occurring in the wake of the disaster.
Since its production, it has been damaged, and the building’s owner is seeking to have it restored.
36.If at First, You Don’t Succeed – San Fransico
“If at first, you don’t succeed – call an airstrike” are words brazenly written on this piece.
Accompanying them is a young man in a gas mask and is the artist’s attempt to comment on the United State’s willingness to strike any country that slights them and hence forms a list of iconic works by Banksy
37.Cave Painting Removal – London
Produced in a designated graffiti area by Banksy, it was soon covered by other works in the tunnel, as is the case with designated areas.
It lasted for a total of four months and depicts a council worker cleaning up ancient cave paintings. Banksy suggests that people who do not understand art will often destroy it.
38.Blank Walls are Criminal
Banksy here in this work makes a comment on how blank walls are just empty, boring spaces until they are decorated by something better.
Although it is not 100% clear that this was produced by Banksy or a different street artist, most consider this work to have been produced by Banksy.
Just one week after this work was discovered on a private residence, it was painted over by the building’s owner. The words suggest that there is no future for the child, whereas the balloon on the O of no suggests happiness and joy for children.
Thus, this piece of work produces a dark and sad picture for those who view it.
40.Aerial Flower Girl by Banksy – Los Angeles
In our technologically advanced world, there are many devices that can distract children. This is certainly the suggestion with this Banksy artwork, where a young girl is tended to a TV aerial as one would with flowers.
The aerial itself has grown and sprouted, suggesting kids pay too much attention to television and hence forms a list of iconic works by Banksy.
41.Abraham Lincoln – New Orleans
An image of Abraham Lincoln was painted by Banksy in New Orleans. He created this work on the third anniversary of the hurricane which devastated the city, commenting on the slow pace of reconstruction by officials.
In this work, Abraham Lincoln is depicted as a homeless man, even more, poignant due to the damaged building he was painted on.
42.Death of a Telephone Box – London
Although most of Banksy’s work centers around graffiti art, he was also known to produce installations. The broken telephone box featured in this installation was stuck with an ax and set in a pool of blood.
It is most often considered to be a comment on the death of the telephone through the rise of social media, but an alternative consideration could be a change in telephone design away from the traditional red phone box and hence forms a list of iconic works by Banksy
43.Fridge Kite – New Orleans
In this graffiti, the viewer sees a child flying a fridge in the place of a kite. The main suggestion behind this painting is that it represents the hunger and poverty many children face.
Despite this, the child is still finding joy in childish things and flying their kite in the wind.
44.Girl with Skipping Rope – Brooklyn
This work of art is comprised of two separate pieces. This half depicts a girl with a long green skipping rope seen moving across the ground, where it connects to a different painting.
It was made in Brooklyn but was vandalized by someone who splashed paint onto it.
45.Mobile Phone Lovers
This artwork was produced close to a boys club in Bristol and is said to have caused quite a stir. The club’s owner intended to raise funds from the artwork, but the local council claimed the door for themselves instead.
The issue is said to have been resolved once Banksy sent a personal letter to the club owner giving permission to use it for a fundraiser and hence forms a list of iconic works by Banksy
46.Waiting in Vain – New York
This graffiti artwork by Banksy was produced in New York and was painted over the rolled-down shutters of a club.
This work shows a man with flowers who appears to have been stood up by a woman, possibly one of the workers from the club. The owner removed the work to display inside instead.
47.Policeman Searching Girl – Glastonbury
Young people are up to all sorts of mischief, and so when the police introduced a “stop and search” policy to search young people, Banksy jumped in and criticized the move.
This artwork appeared in 2007 where a small, young child with a teddy bear was being frisked searching by a policeman. Unsurprisingly, it has been painted over and hence forms a list of iconic works by Banksy
48.Mona Lisa with Rocket Launcher – London
Many parodies have been made of the Mona Lisa, and as the famous painting of all time, this is not surprising. In this artwork, Banksy has repurposed the Mona Lisa to be a terrorist holding a rocket launcher.
Although it has been spotted in various locations, it is unknown whether these were all the artists ’ doing.
49.I do not believe in Global Warming – London
Global Warming is a worldwide issue, and this piece is incredibly simple in its depiction, suggesting that the waters of the world are rising.
In Banksy’s eyes, the UN climate summit has failed to deal with global warming properly and the words in this piece are shown to go below the waterline and hence forms a list of iconic works by Banksy
50.Dove of Peace – Bethlehem
Oftentimes a symbol of peace, this Banksy artwork in Bethlehem was produced in his series of works in the West Bank of Israel during 2005. The Dove depicted here in his work conjures up images of peace and security.
However, it is dressed in a bulletproof vest with a red target from a gun placed on its chest, suggesting the exact opposite.
Concluding the list of famous artworks of Banksy..
There are many more Banksy artworks where this list came from and it would be amiss to suggest that this list is anywhere near complete. Banksy has produced many works over his career, and although many have been lost to repainting and people who do not understand the art, there are many more that persist.
Street art and graffiti, whether we agree with it or not, have certainly got a valuable position in the art world and are uniquely positioned to comment on the world around us.
These iconic works of Banksy do just that, and it is very likely he will continue to make comments on the world around him for the years to come. Also, check out Infographics: Why Street Art Graffiti Is Super Powerful?
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