26 May Banksy Locations in the US and Beyond
Many phenomenal artists have used their talent to make a mark on the world, but none have done so as literally as Banksy. The globally renowned street artist has attracted legions of devoted fans with his famous paintings tackling huge social and political issues with wit and attitude. Impressively, he’s managed to achieve his immense success while staying completely anonymous.
Treating the streets as his canvas has left Banksy free to stamp his creations all over the world, but graffiti art is rarely permanent, even when created by artists as iconic as him. While many of his paintings are no longer visible, you can still find some all over the US and in plenty of other countries too. Here we reveal the top Banksy locations for you to explore if you want to appreciate his brilliance in person.
Banksy in New York
Banksy left street art all over New York City during his October 2013 residency, Better Out Than In, where he unveiled at least one new artwork each day, everywhere from Coney Island to the Yankee Stadium. The first piece, which he captioned “the street is in play”, was revealed in Chinatown on 1st October, depicting a young boy standing on his friend’s back to grab the spray can in a ‘Graffiti Is A Crime’ street sign.
Almost all of Banksy’s New York works were defaced soon after they debuted. For example, “the street is in play” had already been painted over the following day. Elsewhere, vandals and other street artists sprayed over many of his pieces, while others have been covered by metal security gates or completely removed for their protection.
One Banksy work that can be seen in New York, however, is “Hammer Boy”, a silhouette of a young boy smashing a fire hydrant with a hammer. This piece is protected and is located on 233 W 79th St in the Upper West Side of New York City.
Banksy in New Orleans
In 2008. Banksy completed a series of 17 murals in New Orleans, coinciding with the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The vast majority of the paintings were vandalized, with the two most high-profile defacements only happening in 2020 — a whole 12 years after they were painted. These New Orleans Banksy works were The Gray Ghost, which depicted a man covering flowers with gray paint, and Nola (also known as Umbrella Girl), arguably one of Banksy’s most recognizable pieces. These were covered with tags referring to the late King Robbo, a street artist who Banksy feuded with after allegedly painting over one of King Robbo’s tags in London.
As per the New York Post report on the incidents, there have been attempts to remove the red tags from the murals. What’s more, there is a Banksy intact in New Orleans: a piece called Looters featuring two National Guardsmen lifting a television through a window. The owners of the warehouse it was painted on decided to remove and restore the painting when they sold the building, and it is now on display in the lobby of the International House Hotel. This is the largest Banksy work in the US and you don’t have to be a guest to see it.
Banksy in Los Angeles
Banksy is known in Los Angeles for hosting a 2006 exhibition called Barely Legal in an abandoned warehouse there. Plenty of time has passed since then, but it’s still possible to see a couple of pieces he painted on the city walls. PARKING, which depicts a girl swinging from the letter ‘A’, can be found in downtown LA near the intersection of South Broadway and West 9th Street. While Selfie Stick, featuring a couple holding a selfie stick connected to a security camera, is located on North La Brea Avenue, not far from TCL Chinese Theatre.
There were several other Banksy works in Los Angeles previously but these have since been either defaced or removed. A notable example is his image of a child holding a machine gun loaded with colored crayons, which was eventually covered with black paint.
Banksy in San Francisco
Banksy left his mark in San Francisco in April 2010, where it’s thought he created at least six artworks including a Native American holding a ‘No Trespassing’ sign and a giant rat. Only one of these remained for the long-term — Bird Singing in Tree — until recently, that is. The painting in a parking lot on the corner of Erie and Mission Streets fell victim to tagging in November 2020, though part of the original is still visible.
Banksy in Bethlehem
Banksy created a series of works in the occupied Palestinian Territories when he traveled there in 2005, with the aim of bringing attention to the construction of the West Bank Barrier. Most of the pieces criticize the Israeli occupation and represent ideas of freedom and escape.
Banksy left many paintings on the West Bank Barrier itself — including the famous Love Is In The Air of a man with a masked face throwing a bunch of flowers rather than a grenade or molotov cocktail. And on a wall in Bethlehem, Banksy painted a compelling mural called Donkey Documents, featuring a donkey being inspected by an Israeli soldier. This has since been removed and was sold at auction for $250,000 in 2015.
If you were to visit Bethlehem now, you could stay in The Walled Off Hotel, a non-profit project launched by Banksy in 2017 with, according to him, “the worst view of any hotel in the world”. He received further attention when he unveiled Star of Bethlehem in the hotel in December 2019. This was a nativity scene in front of a rendition of the West Bank Barrier, where the star above the manger had been replaced by a bullet hole. Bethlehem residents have been very grateful for Banksy’s activities, and in August 2020, even organized a pop-up tribute exhibition to thank him for bringing attention and fuelling ‘alternative’ tourism.
Banksy in Paris
Banksy painted a series of murals while he was in Paris in 2018, many of which involved rats. For example, a rat couple gazing at the Eiffel Tower from the Pont Ruelle bridge, and rats flying through the air on a popped Champagne cork. Sadly, these works, along with many others, are no longer there. While some have been painted over, there have also been some high-profile thefts. Most notably, that of Banksy’s mural of a mournful young woman on a door at Paris’ Bataclan music hall, painted as a tribute to the victims of the 2015 terrorist attack that occurred there. This was stolen in January 2019 but, thankfully, was found by police in Italy in June 2020.
A couple of Banksy’s Parisian works have been protected by screens, like his painting of a masked horse rider at 41 Avenue de Flandre. This is a reinterpretation of a famous image of Napoleon on horseback, but this time his face and body are covered by a full red headscarf, commenting on France’s 2011 decision to ban full face coverings, including burqas and niqābs, in public.
Banksy in Bristol
Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of Banksy work to enjoy in Bristol, the UK city where the artist was born and raised. He still creates work there to this day, like Valentine’s Banksy from February 2020, of a young girl firing red flowers and leaves from a slingshot. Another recent piece called Aachoo!! appeared on the side of a house in December 2020, depicting a woman who has sneezed so hard her false teeth have come out. However, three months later, the work had been removed and is now set for auction.
Luckily, there are still plenty of Banksy works in Bristol to be enjoyed. These include Girl with the Pierced Eardrum — Banksy’s take on Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring — and Grim Reaper, which you can see at Bristol’s M Shed museum. Another example is Banksy’s Well Hung Lover, of a naked man hanging from a window where a suited man and a woman in her underwear can be seen. This is the first legal piece of street art in the UK, in spite of the nudity.