Why Saving Banksy Means Saving Yourself — by David Choe

Who is Banksy?

Banksy is Batman he is not Robin.

The more important question I want to know is who are you?

When you look in the mirror are you a hero, a villain, an asshole — or just a casual observer?

Super heroes as well as super villains exist in this world we live in today, although it’s not always clear who is who. About two decades ago in a small community in the city of Los Angeles called Silver Lake, a tiny gallery / bookstore was having an art show of a few thrift store paintings hung on display with army choppers and primates stenciled over them. I thought they were hilarious, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to pay the asking price of $200; I would rather just make my own (and I did). Time went on, none of the pieces had sold and the shop owner seemed a little desperate, so I used my Korean negotiation skills to talk him down to $50; although, even at $50I felt a little cheated buying stencil art, but back then, as a starving artist myself, I was always open to supporting other starving artists so I felt good about that part. I asked who the artist was, and he said it was a fellow from across the pond in the UK who goes by the name Bank-Ski, and he was across the street. I said oh cool and went across the street and met a delightful young dark skinned chap with a slight Arabic accent, that was excited about his first art show in America, but also didn’t care much that he hadn’t sold anything and cared more about changing the environment and waking people the fuck up. The shop owner had mispronounced his name, it wasn’t Bank-ski — it was Banksy, and that would be the last time I would meet him until 10 years later with a red elephant but that’s a whole different story; He gave me a cardboard cutout stencil of a rat with a bazooka , I loved it so much I spray painted it all over koreatown until the stencil fell apart, as I looked back and realized, oh shit I’m a Banksy! the stenciled thrift store painting which I purchased for $50 still hangs in my bathroom and is estimated at $500,000 today.

As years went by I witnessed from afar Banksy setting the world on fire. I continued to cheer him on, supporting everything he did- this fucker showed people how to live a full life, making me laugh and think the whole time. He is not a villain, he is a hero, and the world needs more heroes. We already have too many fucking villains, too many zombies and sheep, especially in times like these with the blind leading the blind. The world needs more Supermen, the world needs Spidermen- it doesn’t need more Clark Kents or Peter Parkers. Writers will call upon terms to describe things, often times confusing simple ideas. What is an alter ego, but a side game where one builds an altar to the ego most dominate or the one they’re trying to hide or shield from others. To adjust the ego of our selves and souls- afterward, what are we left with but the bits that have been broken down and chewed up. True artists, great artists, use lies to tell the truth and vice versa. It takes more than grit to make something, it takes a combination of stupidity to think you can actually create, as well as a resilience and a knowing understanding that you can’t understand or know anything- you just need to do. You have to do. You have to create and continue and never stop for some section or season. And why stupidity? Did I just call all creatives stupid? Probably, for it’s in the ways their wisdom works that makes them special.Who in their right mind would spend hours unending staring at a canvas, throwing splotches of paint on its surface to hopefully reach a stranger whom they’ve never met, thinking they can communicate a message that’s infinite in a moment of one’s gaze? Break any creative activity down and you’ll realize it sounds mad- writing, sculpting, acting, filmmaking, photographing, singing- all of it. One of the few that doesn’t sound crazy is that of the work of a scientist- a noble one. Spending a lifetime to cure and create new life is a noble profession, think of Buckminster Fuller who did everything he could to devote his life to making others better through research, science, architecture, sculpture and living spaces. History is filled with figures such as him who took it upon themselves to enrich others: Da Vinci, Bohm, Salgado, even the modern day mythos of scientists such as Pete Coffey and Lyndon da Cruz whose The London Project works to cure blindness, they dedicate themselves daily to literally give people a vision of life. And these are just the few names that are coming to mind while I write this sitting on the toilet staring at my $50 Banksy painting .

My name is David Choe , in white peoples terms , that’s like being named John Smith, there are thousands of David Choe’s on the planet right now , who fucking cares what my name is , Who the fuck cares what Banksy’s real name is. You should care about his art instead, what he’s given you, and stop trying to take more than what’s to be had. Don’t deny yourself great artistic creativity simply to satisfy the curiosity of some blip of an itch that will deny him his anonymity to create. Doing that will make you less than the worst, you wouldn’t even be a super villain scientist, but a spectator searching for a sport to watch that you’re too inept to participate in.

It really does come down to that- heroes and villains and the choice each person makes to get on whatever path marked for them. Most people don’t know of the choice and instead follow whatever current they’re on to a caricature of their contentment. It’s this curiosity that leads people astray.How to fight it? Restraint.

Whenever writers try to boost comic sales and create shocking plot lines like Spiderman unmasked, I don’t read them- why? Because that’s pretty much the end of his secret identity, it puts his life and family at risk- it’s the end of Spiderman. When there’s an internet leak like the fappening and all these Hollywood celebrities are exposed, I don’t click on it. Why? Because I want these people to keep working, so I can watch their movies that entertain me, I don’t want their families to be embarrassed. Do I want to see all those voluptuous tits and tan asses? Would I want to know who Spiderman is if I didn’t already? Fuck yes. But I hold back. Restraint– you don’t have to jerk off every single day, you can hold back. Because the good that they bring is worth more to me then the scandal and gossip which is fast and fleeting and mostly bullshit.

In the Spiderman movie his mask fell off on the subway from risking his life to save the people of New York City; everyone on the subway could see it was Peter Parker, just an average teenage white boy, and they put his mask back on for him and said “your secret’s safe with us,” and yeah I know that’s a movie but why can’t that be in real life too? I cried during that scene even though I knew that part was bullshit and that would never happen in real life. I cried because it made me feel hope in my heart. Because I know we have the potential to be that good.

Why is it necessary for people to ruin things that bring us joy, wonder, inspiration and challenge us? Why do we need to bring everything down to its lowest common denominator? I know the answer for myself, what is the answer for you? Does it really help me to know everything all the time just because I want to know? Does it really help me to know how many cocks my wife has had and all the in-depth details about the size and girth of those veiny cocks?

You can leave a person, but you can’t leave the past. So what is my past? I was a vandal, and I made a conscious choice to never hide behind a secret identity because I’m incredibly stupid and ignorant; at times I’ve been a martyr, extremely gluttonous for self destruction- I liked the pain, I liked the misery. Because of my choices to not don a secret identity I brought a lot of suffering and torture to myself and my family- death threats, prison time, heavy fines, all of it. And while I was laying in my prison cell staring at the penis shaft which was trying to enter my holes did I think to myself, hmmm maybe I should’ve stuck with my original secret identity graffiti tag “billy the kim”? Probably, but then I never would have enjoyed my gay for the stay-cation.

Every art historian knows that to unlock true artistic genius at least one hard penis must make its way into you and hit that magic button in the back of your throat or prostate that unlocks all that expressive, experimental energy that would otherwise go untapped, allowing you to avoid the pitfalls of mediocrity in the annals of art history. It’s basically performance art, or at least that’s what I need to tell myself before I cry to sleep every night. All artists use lies to tell a truth, or use the truth to tell lies depending on how many cocks, wheatpastes or stencils they’ve taken.

If you haven’t heard of these names before, what comes to mind when you hear them for the first time: Eazy-E, Skin Diamond, Rocki Roads, Saber, Retna, Asa Akira, Mister Cartoon, Spiderman, Adrenalynn, Punisher, Jade, Critter, Slick, Revok, Bonnie Rotten, Hex, Batman, Neckface, Axl, Axis, Slash, Crash, Doze, El Mac and Duff?

I don’t know about you, but I think, no way are those their real names!Those are like cartoon super hero secret identity names. But why would anyone do that?

First of all, because its fucking cool, but second, so that they can create art, or give you something to look at while you play with yourself, or are bored out of your mind. Basically to make your world a little less miserable and give you something to look and think about, while protecting and keeping their mild mannered identity so that they can have some sense of a normal life, without destroying their family and everything good in their lives.Think of how much free art and pornography you’ve enjoyed in your life, you’ve done nothing to deserve it, but there is an actual human being putting their entire life and reputation at stake to make these things for you.

If it is revealed that Banksy’s identity is some suburban middle class white boy from the UK, how un-interesting is that? So, ok, you find out he’s just some dude, the police and the whole world find out and he goes to jail or whatever and now guess what- the world doesn’t get anymore Banksy. It’s like when some boring nowhere USA Jane Doe decides to don a secret identity porn name and gives me hours of countless free material to jerk off to and then assholes go digging for her identity. Her children and family find out, it shames and hurts her into quitting the adult entertainment business, and now I no longer get to create new memories with someone who I’ve developed a one sided emotional virtual relationship with.

I’m not making excuses for anyone, but there was a time when Martin Luther King would visit John F. Kennedy at the White House, and they would have orgies and let all the secret service guys have sloppy seconds, and in rare cases let them go first, and the reporters and journalists back then weren’t stupid, they saw the women coming in and out of the back door of the White House and would snap pics, but you know what they did with them? They threw them away. Why? Because they respected the president, because they measured the value of what good or evil would come from it, who cares if they were slutty man whores. Just look, look at the things JFK and MLK did with their lives and careers and think what would’ve happened if TMZ existed back then and the media had put them on blast. One of the greatest presidents of my generation never got to reach his full potential because he got caught getting bjs from a fat chick. Who fucking gives a fuck, he’s the president of the United States, the most powerful alpha male in the universe, I want my president to get his dick sucked by a harem of fat chicks every night to release the poison so he can think very very clearly when making decisions that affect the entire world.But that’s just me. You know Hillary doesn’t give a fuck, but she had to pretend like she did. What, you don’t think Hillary is going to get eaten out by the secret service every night if she makes it to the top? You know Bill doesn’t want that job.

Banksy has created some of the most exciting and interesting art the world has seen and is one of the most important artists of our generation and you want to ruin that because you want to find out who he is? I’d rather not know and get more art. Right now expert scientists think they have uncovered the secret identity of the world’s most elusive exterior decorator Banksy, but with my expert knowledge from a lifetime of reading comic books, the hero is usually a bit cleverer and a few steps ahead of the evil super villain scientists. Banksy is in fact a very clever lad and he is most definitely a super hero. In my world, if you pit Banksy against evil scientists, as a gambling man I would pick Banksy every time. Accusing people of shit when you don’t have all the facts only propels the gossip / click bait societywe’re living in today; it can ruin a perfectly innocent man’s life and reputation. So exercise restraint, ask yourself: does it really help us to know his identity? How does this serve humanity? To be anonymous so that you can affect change is a gift, it’s a choice- it’s so fuckin amazing! You’d only want to disrupt that if you were an asshole. Are you an asshole? Even though you have an asshole, being an asshole is a choice- being an asshole is an affliction that is reversible. In the end, you make the choice; you need to stop picking your asshole and pick whether or not you are an asshole. And if you realize the sad truth, that you are what you eat (an asshole), know that you can still change your ways.

If you’re not swayed by a thing I said and have instead decided to stay or become an asshole, I at least have to nod my head at you for possessing the attention span to read this far. You really are lost. But you’re still an asshole for wanting to know who Banksy is. All I can say is let it rest, he basically gave you a roadmap to his identity, he’s in the first 15 minutes of the Academy Award nominated documentary film “Exit Through The Gift Shop”.

I want to end this eloquently, with a personal message to all the evil expert scientists: you went to school and got all that education and were born with this giant brain; you could be helping to solve cancer and/or real crimes and this is how you choose to spend your time? Fucking with artists? Leave artists alone to create. The only people you should ever want to unmask are villains.

If you want to do the world some good, find out who fucking shot Biggie and Tupac.

Leave Britney alone

Leave Banksy alone

A person will always run longer in search for an answer. Curiosity doesn’t kill a person; it corrodes the mind. Hold on to what matters, and let go of what doesn’t.” — Bobby Trivia

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CHRIS LABROOY’S TALES OF AUTO ELASTICITY

by Ariadna Zierold

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UK graphic designer and artist Chris Labrooy riffs on custom car culture in his latest digital illustration series, “Tales of Auto Elasticity.” A follow-up to last year’s “Auto Aerobics”, in which Labrooy placed his bendy, sculptural low riders in a city park, “Tales of Auto Elasticity” shows pick-up trucks with yogic flexibility bending to extreme degrees in a rural parking lot.

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As the name suggests, the series of images depict a range of brightly colored vehicles distorted and manipulated to produce elastic compositions. The warped vehicles which are an assortment of trucks can be seen mangled together in what is meant to portray how tangible pieces in real life could fit into the realm of the digital world.

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ARTIST DUO “STALLMAN” CREATE VIBRANTLY HUED CANVASES

by Ariadna Zierold

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The most recent offerings Jason Hallman and Stephan Stum “Stallman“prove that innovation and progression reign supreme in the latest canvas on edge wall sculptures. The two artists do not hesitate to elaborate on past successes while introducing captivating new line work and bold color pairings.

stallman, hued, canvas, Jason Hallman, Stephen Stum, the citrus report

Meticulously folding canvas and layering color, the art duo Stallman turn a traditional painting surface on its head, using the structure of the canvas to give their works vibrant depth. They are deeply inspired by gradients found in the natural world, their color selection and positioning appearing almost topographic.

stallman, hued, canvas, Jason Hallman, Stephen Stum, the citrus report

The Pacific Northwest based pair calls this body of work “Canvas on Edge,” giving canvas the leading roll within each each piece. By positioning the medium outward its curved shapes become all about depth and form and serve as large, elevated line drawings.

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“We create together, one acting as the right side of the brain and the other the left. This union of dynamic minds dissolves the boundaries of what is possible turning the ordinary into extraordinary.”

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All images via the artists.

DISTORTED PORTRAITS BY BRIAN DONNELLY

by Ariadna Zierold

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The recent works of Toronto-based visual artist Brian Donnelly are focused on portraiture. These portraits show all kinds of distortions, unsettling mutilations that deny any trace of socially accepted beauty or fragmented facial features that reveal human limitations and speak of vulnerability.

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The hair and sometimes the eyes, mostly remaining part of the composition to increase the work’s expressiveness and visual impact through confronting or connecting with the viewer in striking ways, are the very few recognizable elements still left untouched by what feels like a spontaneous, rapid and irreparable erosion.

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This powerful impression of imperfection and incompleteness captures gestures of despair or fear, if physically possible, depending on the extent of their distortion, the depicted subjects are hopelessly screaming, while we are silently witnessing a slaughter scene that it is too late to prevent.

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MATTHEW BARNEY: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT

by Ariadna Zierold

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Matthew Barney: RIVER OF FUNDAMENT is Barney’s first major solo museum exhibition in Los Angeles. River of Fundament is one of Barney’s most challenging and ambitious projects to date, and his largest filmic undertaking since the renowned, five-part CREMASTER film cycle (1994-2002).

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The film, written by Barney in collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler, tells a story of regeneration and rebirth inspired by Ancient Evenings, Norman Mailer’s sprawling, provocative novel set in ancient Egypt.

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The presentation at MOCA comprises the epic length, operatic film and approximately 85 works inspired by or made in conjunction with the film, including large-scale sculptures weighing up to 25 tons, drawings, and storyboards. The exhibition also includes Barney’s Water Castings, a new group of sculptures on view for the first time.

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Overall, the works in the exhibition intertwine history and mythology with the contemplation of fundamental human drives—such as sex, violence, and power—that have continuously propelled civilizations.

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via MOCA.

STEAMPUNK ANIMAL AND INSECT SCULPTURES

by Ariadna Zierold

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When working with metal, it takes a true master to breathe life into their artwork. Russian artist Igor Verniy does just that with his beautiful and elegant articulated steampunk animal sculptures. Their moving parts and Verniy’s attention to detail makes them come alive.

igor verniy, steampunk, sculptures, animals, insects, metal, the citrus report

From heaps of scrap metal, old bike chains, and silverware, sculptor Igor Verniy creates birds, butterflies, and other unusual creations. Many of his steampunk and cyberpunk sculptures are made to be fully articulated, with dozens of moving or adjustable parts enabling each piece to be posed in several lifelike positions.

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