For any fan of Banksy’s work this book should become essential reading. Whereas Wall & Piece is official and comprehensive in detailing Banksy’s later work and stunts, and Banksy Locations & Tours by Martin Bull suited a specific purpose, but is now largely redundant due the stencils being buffed, Home Sweet Home is a celebration of Banksy’s street art in his home city of Bristol and mainly focuses on Banksy’s formative years and early works.

The book contains a narrative by Steve Wright, who has meticulously tracked down people who know Banksy and have worked with him. These people have been interviewed and the result is some very interesting insights into the man and his methods. Respected artists such as Inkie and 3D, as well as gallery owners (Azlan) and contemporaries give the text an authorative feel.

This book places Banksy in the context of 3D, John Nation from the Barton Hill Settlement, Inkie, Nick Walker and the other artists and musicians who were instrumental in linking Bristol to the original New York hip hop scene.

It is the most revealing account of Banksy’s early years and contains more than one hundred images of his Bristol art, as well as pictures of Banksy at work, many of which have never been published before. Of course Banksy’s identity is masked and it is the respect for the artist’s wishes to remain anonymous that probably helped Steve Wright get such detail from Banksy’s friends.

What many people will not have known is that Banksy’s earlier work was sprayed freehand and the stencils only came later. There are plenty of photographs of this earlier work and it is very interesting to see the artist’s development.

The book is beautifully produced in a heavy hardback and has glossy pages. A couple of the photographs appear to be of dubious quality, but largely the detail of the pictures is very good.

The author – Steve Wright, is Venue magazine’s Art Editor, and he has done a tremendous job tracing Banksy’s roots back to the rave culture of the Nineties and draws a rounded picture of an artist who is most famous for being anonymous. Make sure that you check out this book.

Banksy’s Bristol is available from Tangent Books.

Hardback, RRP £12
112pp, full colour, 225mm x 225mm
ISBN: 9781906477004

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