If you’re not a lover of the arts, you might be asking yourself, “What’s a Banksy?”

Well, for starters. Banksy is a who — although it’s an unknown who.

Even after more than 20 years on the street art scene, the identity of the artist remains under wraps. He’s not granted a face-to-face interview since 2003 and has been known to hide his face under a paper bag when necessary. Though his identity isn’t known, his artwork has quite a following. Some have even dubbed it an art subculture surrounding his work.

Despite the high level of success he has experienced, he still refuses to grant interviews or release his real identity. He’s gone from “outlaw spraying” in the ‘90s to an artist whose work commands hundreds of thousands of dollars in the auction houses of Britain and America.

His notoriety really started to take off in the early 2000s when he moved to London. It was around this time that he really started to walk in the shadows and also completed one of his first international projects. His work on the Bethlehem Wall during a trip to Palestine and the West Bank earned viral status on the Internet.

Soon thereafter prints of his work were breaking records at art auctions.

Want to know more about the artist? Check out an in-depth look at the artist published by the Smithsonian here.

So, why is Banksy’s art important?

Well, in many ways he turned the art world upside down. He put the power back in the artists’ hands. It’s a subject close to his artist’s heart … and at the heart of many of his pieces.

He was quoted as saying, “There’s a whole new audience out there, and it’s never been easier to sell [one’s art]. You don’t have to go to college, drag ’round a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries or sleep with someone powerful, all you need now is a few ideas and a broadband connection. This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people. We need to make it count.”

His use of stencils is also important. While their use came out of necessity to cut down his painting time — the artist tells a story of nearly getting caught creating a piece and spending an hour hiding under a leaking rail car as an unexpected penance — he said he found the stencils to be powerful.

He’s quoted as having said, “I also like the political edge. All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.”

So, why is this artwork coming to Kokomo important?

Kokomo is pretty stinking lucky to snag this display of a coveted piece of art. In fact, library reps speculate, Kokomo just might be the first library in the world to host an actual piece of art by Banksy. Other libraries, they say, have hosted displays with posters or prints of his work, but Kokomo will have the real deal on display.

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this exhibit. You won’t want to miss it. Get details of the exhibit here.


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