NOT BANKSY: A True and Remarkable History (2007-2008)
(as retold in the present time)
In the beginning there was no NOT BANKSY.
The story of him/her/it coming into being goes something like this:
The Janitor (of STOT21stCplanB) bought some canvases and stencils from a pound shop. The pound shop stencils were of cute little animals intended for decorating the walls of children’s nurseries.
The Janitor made a spray paint painting on a pound shop canvas using one of the cute stencils – some little bunnies.
He showed this to The Assistant to The Janitor (also of STOT21stCplanB) suggesting that this might be the way forward for cutting edge Urban Art and hence worth a lot of money.
On inspecting the artwork The Assistant to the Janitor mooted that if it was by BANKSY it might get a look in, but as it wasn’t The Janitor should seek his artistic fortune elsewhere.
The Janitor went off to rethink the situation and shortly came back with the same painting signed by BANKSY. Both The Janitor and The Assistant to The Janitor pissed themselves laughing.
Thinking this to be a good sign, The Assistant to the Janitor decided that they should mobilise STOT21stCplanB to make an edition of this artwork, give it a cutting edge faux-radical title, and disseminate it out into the world via the L-13 anti-art network.
So, the edition was made by STOT21stCplanB and NOT by BANKSY and one of the new paintings was duly placed in the window of L-13’s then gallery THE AQUARIUM L-13 on Farringdon Road. Almost immediately someone came in to ask eagerly “how much is that BANKSY in the window?” The Assistant to The Janitor quickly explained it wasn’t by BANKSY but by a much better artistic duo known as STOT21stCplanB and NOT by BANKSY, signed as such on the back, and that only an idiot would think it was really by BANKSY.
“But it’s signed by BANKSY” says the prospective art collector.
“No it’s not” replies The Assistant to the Janitor “… the spray painted BANKSY signature is fake”.
“But you can’t do that” comes the retort.
“But we have!” parries The Assistant to the Janitor
“How much is it then?”
“I’ll take it.”
…… “Are you sure it’s NOT by BANKSY?”
In fact the entire edition of 31 sold almost immediately so another edition with Chicken and Chicks was made. This also sold very quickly and the work caused a stir on the BANKSY Forum and other chatter sites: some people were venomously moaning about STOT21stCplanB and NOT BANKSY’s openly disrespectful antics, some were cheering them on, and others were musing whether BANKSY really was involved = they should be buying it even if they thought it was rubbish.
Encouraged by this mixture of approval, disapproval, cynical promise of riches and total confusion, more editions followed. Each one getting slightly more ridiculous in tone. The price always remained the same at £31 but the editions got larger and more complicated and, incredibly, kept selling.
Finally STOT21stCplanB and NOT BANKSY got fed up with it and did a series of 11 separate paintings under the title ‘Getting Away With It‘ in an edition of 30,000 each in an effort to exhaust the NOT BANKSY market’s appetite.
Bunny with 10 Carrots (Edition of 30,000)
Bunny with 9 Carrots (Edition of 30,000)
Bunny with 8 Carrots (Edition of 30,000)
I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT BANKSY
Then after a short break, the NOT BANKSY itch began again as NOT BANKSY mused as to how far the obvious fakery could be pushed.
During these musings The Janitor came up with the tag-line I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT BANKSY and in response to this The Assistant to the Janitor proposed that the new paintings should look exactly like BANKSY’s.
This, they decided, was what NOT BANKSY fans truly deserved and, after some debate as to the legality of such a thing, went into full production mode making stencils of BANKSY’s rats and chimps with their own additions or inane one-liners painted onto cardboard authentically soiled with urban dirt, a NOT by BANKSY by NOT BANKSY sticker stuck on the back, and complete with a faked Pest Control Certificate of Authenticity.
These editions were even more popular than the first series and sold well until STOT21stCplanB and NOT BANKSY decided it wasn’t funny anymore and decided to stop.
Flogging a Dead Rat was the final piece.
Not Banksy Fakes & Imitations
During this period another NOT BANKSY (the real BANKSY??) started a website that showed some very entertaining site specific NOT BANKSY work, but with no attempt to cash in on the confusion by selling anything. Slightly bamboozled by this and not wishing for STOT21stCplanB’s NOT BANKSY to be confused with this more righteous imposter, NOT BANKSY briefly became THE CONTINUITY NOT BANKSY (after the Continuity IRA). But NOT BANKSY were running out of steam and they knew it. So, at the end of 2008 when THE AQUARIUM L-13 shut its doors for good, the death of NOT BANKSY was simultaneously declared.
Since then it seems these paintings have become more and more collectible, with some exchanging hands for hundreds of pounds.
Interestingly there are even some fake NOT BANKSYS that turned up in auction and are still listed (despite NOT BANKSY’s efforts to clear their name) as by STOT21stCplanB on Artnet: A strange thing to fake as being NOT BANKSY, or NOT NOT BANKSY is easy and a probably unprofitable endeavour, but being BANKSY is NOT.
GENUINE FAKES! The signature is too big, the cardboard too clean, the ideas too dull.
The NOT BANKSY fakes, however badly executed, prompted a revisiting of the genuine NOT BANKSYs, now vintage and worthy of their own imitations.
In this era of dogmatic beliefs, polarised opinion, simplistic explanations and accessible artworks it is time to celebrate NOT BANKSY’s obfuscating, irreverent, facetious and mystifying position. There is a call for more artifice in art. That call has been answered.
NOT BANKSY IS DEAD, LONG LIVE NOT NOT BANKSY.
NOT NOT BANKSY 10th ANNIVERSARY EMPHATIC DENIAL NON-RESURRECTION EDITION
NOT BANKSY is DEAD and NOT BANKSY will NOT be RESURRECTED
As it is known NOT BANKSY died in 2008. 10 years on NOT BANKSY’s memory is honoured with a NON-RESURRECTION edition by NOT NOT BANKSY. That’s right: NOT NOT BANKSY, not NOT BANKSY.
NOT NOT BANKSY is not NOT BANKSY as NOT BANKSY is dead. These prints are a homage to NOT BANKSY, not BANKSY, by a new artist known as NOT NOT BANKSY who continues the great work of NOT BANKSY and not BANKSY. Some people think it is NOT known if BANKSY was ever involved in the NOT BANKSY project, or if NOT BANKSY is NOT DEAD and in fact is NOT NOT BANKSY. The latter is unprovable but we know categorically that BANKSY was NOT involved in any creation or idea formed by NOT BANKSY, or the THE CONTINUITY NOT BANKSY, and certainly not NOT NOT BANKSY! Is that clear?
NOT NOT BANKSY artworks are made by 2 artists formerly known as STOT21stCplanB who, for the purposes of appearing more intelligible and serious, changed their name to Harry Adams in 2008 and still stand accused of killing NOT BANKSY. They have reverted to STOT21stCplanB to be known as NOT NOT BANKSY specially for this occasion.
Furthermore: Even though the NOT BANKSY works of old are now selling for hundreds of pounds on the secondary market, the artists and we the publisher are sticking to our principle that chasing art market prices is a dire fallacy and have decided to keep this new edition at a reasonable price. May all but the artist profit from it!
What happened next?
Click the images below to read about
Rat With Black Square and the Death of NOT NOT BANKSY
April Fool’s and the Birth of The Real Not Banksy Front
True Love Fake Art
The 11th Hour RNBF General Election Special