Kasmira Mohanty

Exhibition and Commercial Artist


Chasing Banksy

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 9:10 AM

If I kept a daily journal the entry for October 19, 2013 would simply say THANK YOU Banksy. I set out on that day to chase Bansky, not as seriously as some who are watching twitter like chain smokers (I don’t have twitter nor know how to tweet I might mention) or pedaling furiously on bike to be the first to get a coveted “clean shot” of his work. I was also brilliantly unaware as I stepped onto Chambers street that his target had been Staten Island. My first thoughts were filled with rage and heartbreak, but I was in Manhattan, a city I had lived in for several years and neglected to visit very often since moving back to the suburbs. I forged ahead my day operating now more like a search and rescue mission rather than the valiant victory of discovery scenario I had engineered in my head. IPhone in hand, set to Google maps Bansky, I headed towards stop one Tribeca. What I found was sad. An attempt was made to protect the small unassuming piece with a piece of glass that someone found most enjoyable to smash. Other attempts at minimizing the work were in full force as well. I thought why, what idiot would do this? Unsavory combinations of words were forming in my head as a young couple walked up beside me. The girl asked me “is that it, is that the Banksy?” I thought they might have the same feeling as me, but without such as a moment to allow me to respond she snapped a picture and the girl turned to her boyfriend and said “ok then lunch”. More heartbreak for different reasons now. Onto 18 Allen Street. Pretty much the same deal but my walk over had me pondering what did it mean to the person(s) who defaced the Tribecca piece. There are all sorts of reasons certain individuals have their undies in an uproar about what he is doing, but really? I began to feel light hearted about the whole thing. I was making a discovery, not a fresh Bansky, but about human nature. On my way to Cooper Square and E 7th street I was beginning to look forward to what I would find there. A few bubbly girls were giggling snapping away on their Iphones. The work didn’t look like the one on the Bansky in New York website. Several passers by claimed that it was his in the right cement block and that the middle one had been removed with the other piece. I chatted with the girls for a while and I decided I wanted to jump over the yellow tape and touch the paint where it said The Musical, supposedly his as well. The girls jumped with me and we proceeded to caress the letters. I don’t think it was so much the “getting close to Banksy” that was satisfying but the let’s jump together even though I don’t even know you. I ran into an art student of mine who had graduated back in June and later 2 old friends from back in the day, who tempted me with the prospect of putting a can of paint in my hand to do some art of my own. Just the thought made me giddy and magically made me 18 again. I could go into detail about how the rest of my day unfolded, but what I found to be most important was reconnecting with art in such a direct fashion that is somehow unattainable in a museum. Chasing Banksy forced me to walk, think and look around me in a way I hadn’t in a long time. In my day’s journey I found lots of other pieces of street and graffiti art, photographed some architecture, spoke with strangers and friends. My day became a state of mind rather than about the physical act of looking at art. So for that I’m glad I never got my “clean shot”. Thank you Banksy.

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