Race on to Discover New Banksy
Described variously as street, urban or graffiti artists, few have had a traditional fine-art education and most have their roots in graphic design or are simply self-taught. Although they have made the transition from street to gallery to show their art, they receive scant attention from the serious art press and short shrift from museums.
But the artists and galleries that represent them are cocking a snook at the establishment because they have caught the imagination of the public, collectors and investors alike.
Virtually unknown five years ago, Banksy's auction record soared at Sotheby's earlier this month when a painting sold for £323,000. A print that could find no buyer at auction two-and-a-half years ago at £300 sold for nearly £9,000. It's the sort of mark-up that appeals to the young City traders and hedge-fund managers who are a driving force behind this market, says Ralph Taylor of Sotheby's, who has assembled a special street-art section for his next contemporary art sale in London on December 12.
Apart from Banksy, he will have original works by Antony Micallef and the collective group known as Faile, whose first works at auction this month quadrupled estimates, selling for between £36,000 and £39,000 each. Both are represented by the Soho gallery Lazarides, where their work regularly sells out.