Archive for November, 2011


This morning I was woken up by the shrieks of my wife Emily. She has been ill with Cancer for two years already and the doctors say that she doesn’t have much time left. I know that but I don’t want her to think that now her life is over. The only thing we can do is to make days worth living and that’s why I try to spend all my time with her. Our pet cat Peter has been really supporting during this difficult time that we have. The best way to amuse my dear Emily is to pretend that Peter is acting like a human and for that I couldn’t be more thankful to him. I’d anything to cheer my wife up. Today I did few sketches of Peter. Everybody keeps asking me why do I only paint cats and why wouldn’t I want to expand my criteria. I don’t even know exactly why. I think I’ve found something that really interests me and I can’t imagine getting tired of painting cats.

8 September 1886

 

It’s been exactly one year since my wife died. I probably will never get married again. It is still quite hard for me to deal with that fact but painting has helped me a lot. I think cats are superior creatures. They are smarter than us, they could to the same things as humans but the problem is they don’t have hands. I think that cats are 10 times wiser than people. Yesterday I had a letter. They want my picture in the London News. I couldn’t be happier and not for the fame and the fortune. I’m extremely pleased that someone else has noticed that cats are really fascinating animals and we should tell this to more people. Next week I’ll move back with my mother and sisters. They need me and I need them as I don’t have a woman in my life anymore. Life hasn’t been kind to my mother either: a dead husband and insane daughter…

8 September 1889

It’s been a long time since I last wrote something down. I’ve been busy drawing lately. The demand has been bigger than expected. I’ve had quite a good year and yesterday I got a letter from the National Cat Club. They want me to be the chairman I couldn’t be happier about it.

Right now I’m doing about one postcard a day. I also do the anthropomorphized cat drawings for newspapers, magazines and children’s books. I’m glad to see my drawing in a paper and share my love for cats with other people. For example today I had this idea about drawing a theatre scene. I drew cats on the balcony. They are all very snobby just like people who try to appear artsy but in reality they can’t care less. Some of them have binoculars with them so they can watch the actors facial expressions and afterwards discuss them for hours. People find it easier to laugh at when I’m mocking them in the form of cats.

15. September 1898

 

I’ve decided to move to New York for a while. To make a new start as people say. Things got out of hand in England and I got sued for debt. I’ve heard that It’s easier to make money in here with a little knowledge on finance. They told me that even I can handle it with my non-existent business sense.  So far it has been alright. I’ve only got duped for once and I’ve been quite occupied with work. I’ve been producing comic strips for Americans and people seem to really like them. Yesterday I went to a park and saw a lovely white Persian cat. We talked for hours. He gave me some ideas about what should I draw next. A guy walked by and told me that I’m insane. Me, insane? They are the ones who are eccentric. There is nothing wrong about talking to cats. They can understand me better than humans. They have more soul in them.

23 May 1907

I’ve been in my room for 2 weeks if I’m not wrong. I heard that war’s on. My mother’s dead, my sister died. I see colourful cats in my room. They are good, vivid and only wish good for me. Cats are lovely. I love cats. Cats are amazing. Cats are gorgeous. Cats are real. Cats are kind. Cats make peace. Cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats cats. Pussycat, pussycat I love you…

 

6 February 1915

They have put me into this house. I can’t go outside. Everybody wants to take away my cats. They don’t say it but I know that they do. They say that I don’t have any cats with me but I do, I’m not stupid, I have four purple, five green and three yellow ones. My cats told me that I be soon out of this place and that Emily has come back and we’ll live happily with my mother and my sisters. SHUT UP! I hate when my roommate’s singing. He does it to get on my nerves but I can’t get angry. But I still do at times and then the mystery man comes and I wake up dizzy the next day. But I don’t like here at all. The people are weird. Fortunately I can continue drawing. I have to go and take care of my pet cats.

2 December 1924

 I decided to write about the painting process of one of John Constable’s most famous paintings, nowadays known as The Hay Wain. I chose this topic because I really wanted to write about a painter and since I don’t know many British painters, I decided to take the really famous British artist Constable, whose paintings I saw last year in Kumu, and whose still landscape paintings I find particularly enjoyable. I didn’t know much about him, so it was actually quite interesting to read articles about his life and his work. I think that writing about his life was quite hard, since I don’t actually know about the writing style in the early 19th century, so I guess it was quite challenging for me. But overall I enjoyed writing this.

July 10th, 1800

After an arduous year at the Royal Academy, I am finally able to visit my Father and my beloved birthplace in East Bergholt, Suffolk. It is rather lovely to see the stillness of my rural home, as opposed to the hasty liveliness of London, and I am filled with joy to know that my Father has accepted my expected career in the arts. Thank God for my brother Abram for taking over his business! And it is definitely a relief to set my foot here now, since clearly my talents at the Academy were not appreciated as highly as I thought they would have been. But I should paint my own laces best, so I will remain certain to my vision of the countryside and not let myself be caught by compositions that are not heartfelt for me!

Went to see Flatford Mill in the morning, still owned by Father; quite inspired me to do some rudimentary scantlings.

July 12th, 1800

Went to view Flatford Mill again, since the weather was wondrously cloudy, that is, the weather was splendid for some simple sketching. I was strolling near Flatford on the River Stour as I sighted some haymakers at work, just across the meadow near dear old Willy Lott’s cottage. Poor old fool will not even leave his home to expand the eye! I myself had somehow forgotten that hay is being harvested at present and it was even quite surprising when I saw a strong horse pulling the hay wain across the river. This locus is so dear to me, and I fairly enjoy the river’s partition of the two counties, my homely Suffolk and the altogether different yet pleasant Essex. I especially enjoy the tone of the trees surrounding the shore. Fine shades! And after all, these scenes and colours made me a painter, and I am grateful.

It was truly an admirable day, I must say, for I caught plenty well ideas and swell memories.

February 23rd, 1819

Settled in Hampstead Heath, where the air is sparse and nature surrounds us, rather than crowded central London. I believe my work should come as directly as possible from nature, therefore this is the ideal place for us. Outdoor oil sketches, capturing the changing skies and the effects of light… This is the pleasurable part of my work. Maria is feeling better now and the children should also enjoy the outskirts. The parents have deceased, may they rest in peace, but the funds are plentiful and life is rather good at this time. My studio is still set in London, for there are greater opportunities there for perfecting my sketches. Although my paintings do not sell that well in England, I refuse to travel away, since I would rather be a poor man here than a rich man abroad! Also, I could never not return to my birthplace in Suffolk from where I still have some delightful ideas…

April 7th, 1820

I specifically remember a day from about 20 years ago, while visiting my Father in dear old East Bergholt. The hay was being made and the scenery near the mill was fair and wonderful. I recently found some old sketches, and one particularly reminded me of this day. Oh to be young again and feel the keen sting of inspiration! The days at home, the lovely open-air sketches, the countryside… these are the aspects of my art which warm the heart! And now I have managed to demonstrate my aspirations more boldly by exhibiting large-scale scenes of farms and waterways. Although painted in London, they are still fresh and homey to me. I have been told that now I am producing my greatest work and to hear such things is the highest oh honours. And the sketches of the haymakers… well, work is almost in progress and the feeling is mighty fine!

December 18th, 1820

Yet again viewed my ragged but dear old sketches and managed to make a full-size preparatory sketch in oil to establish the composition. One might think that this new strategy demonstrates my will to put the discredited art of landscape painting onto the map in a more recent fashion, and I cannot say that I am not flattered by these assumptions! It would be my dream to popularize landscape painting, for I have poured my soul into it and I simply cannot contain the excitement it brings me! I believe my new painting will have an even fresher take on it, and I am positively thrilled to see the outcome of, once again, the dear memories of my precious nature-oriented youth and beloved home place. I am having a spontaneous movement with this creation and I truly hope to convey the picture in my thoughts as the mirror of nature.

March 30th,1821

I am done with it, and it shall be called Landscape – Noon, since it obviously depicts the mentioned article. My picture will go to this year’s Academy Exhibition on the loth, and although it stands not so grand as my Stratford Mill one, it still has a novel look and appeals to me in ways I could not have imagined. To the masses it might not be so impressive, because the power of the chiaroscuro is lessened, but I admire my fresh water and deep noon-day from the bottom of my heart. One of my better ones for certain, and I have faith in it to win me some grateful recognition.  And if it does not accomplish that, my River Stour will stay with me, for no one can steal my profound desires and precious recollections, and the value for my soul is deeper than any vain intention to jeer it ever could be.

Margot Fonteyn
I decided to write a diary about England’s greatest prima ballerina- Margot Fonteyn. While reading her biography, it seemed to me that a thing that made her so special, was her age, when she was still one of the best in those times. So I tried to write about the later times of her career and explain the relationship with her dance partner, because they are considered to be the best ballet couple of all times. I used some ballet terms and quatations of her to make the diary more authentic and also Chinese, because Margot lived some of the years of her childhood in China. To get a real feeling of her true personality, I watched some of her interwievs and also some movie clips about her.
1.
13 November 1961
Just a few days have left until the big charity gala in here, London, where I finally have an honour to greet my new dance partner Rudolf Nureyev. I am looking forward to meet him, because to this day, all the negotiations have been conducted only by telephone. And after all, I have heard some great words about Rudolf from my dear Russian friend who is now a ballet teacher in Copenhagen. When I first asked him, what about Nureyev, what was he like, he told me: “ Well, you know, he is very good, he has something genius about him. Just look at his face and those nostrils and you will see.” Thus, our first meeting pledges to be interesting. However, I have some hesitations… He is still about twenty years younger than me. Our lives are completely different. He is a young artist, just developing and finding his place to be and I am 42 years old and even to my own surprise, England’s prima ballerina assoluta!

2.
21 February 1962
Today was our first performance together with Rudolf- Giselle. I felt such power, blessing and new energy flowing trough my old veins. Well… old for a ballet dancer. It is like I have found my true stage-soul mate from him. I have also never experienced such public reaction after the performance in my long stage career. About one minute after the end, there was complete silence that took over the odium. The atmosphere was just electric! Then the audience started clapping and stood up from their seats. Amazing… Rudolf gentlemanly stood back and let me get all the applause. It was a real honour, dancing with him and all my fears concerning that “who is going to look at me, when a young man like him can leap ten foot high “, where gone. Somehow it worked. On the stage, I got a beautifully big bouquet of crimson roses. He got none. I took a single rose out of my bouquet and gave it to him. And he… he just took it, dropped on both knees and hit his face in the frock. It was so touching, because this was a moment of true artist’s emotion. From that point, I knew, that this is going to be something great, our partnership I mean. An my career… it is going to get a new outset from here.

3.
29 January 1963
Dancing with him is completely different from dancing with anybody else- Robert, Michael… Today, in our rehearsal for Ashton’s “Marguerite and Armand”, I felt like a little girl, attending in her first ballet class and learning Pas de bourrée for the first time, amazing!! With him, it seems that nothing else matters anymore. My age, that is clearly too old for being a professional ballet dancer, that excruciating pain in my feet, my life – all of that is not important while being with him. Our opposing temperaments and totally diverse backgrounds seem to generate an electricity in the atmosphere, that is new to me. I can start developing myshelf again with somebody, who has changed so much in ballet culture in here. He has brought younger audience to see classical ballet as such. Because before him, in the middle of 60’s, young people where not really inspired from ballet like in Swan Lake. He, as a great artist, could do that.
4.
4 June 1966
Ballet… to describe ballet, I can think of no words to describe the feeling of dancing it. Ballet is just art. And I have the honour to be the artist. Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike. That is partly the reason why I and my mother thought that Margot would be better than Margaret, it is more like me, with no affectation. While dancing, I feel blessing , it is like marvellous music, those indescribable feelings and rond de jambe en l’ airs, sautées and derriéres- ballet, has taken over my entire body. Of course every good thing has also a downside. In that case, the pain. The pain in my toes after doing my last pirouette ´a la seconde, grande in “The Firebird” is harrowing. The audience will never see the pain in artist’s face. But just to imagine, there is nothing between my toes and a ballet shoe except a scrap of lamb’s wool, nothing! But in spite of nagging injuries and the need for regular injections in my feet, I will dance on.

I am just so passionate about ballet and very grateful for Rudolf, who has extended my career for another 15 years, at least I hope so.
5.
17 September 1969
Many people have told me over the years, that I have an exceptional so called “teacher’s eye”. I have developed an ability to correct various things that had worried my for years. And all because of him. Dancing with so young and ambitioned artist makes me want to improve more and more. Even others have perceived an improvement of my techniques. Pirouettes for example have concerned me for years. But I discovered that just putting my hips into another position and bringing shoulders back a bit, made pirouettes so much easier for me. The Royal Academy tried to organize my career by getting me teach ballet to others. I thought that, as it is in life, you have to take courage with you and can’t just avoid things you are afraid of. Like people in Shanghai say: “你必須有勇氣“, so, I took the oppurtunity. I have done this job for a month now, but today I quit. It is just disastrous. Musicality and dance come so naturally to me, so I have really no idea to explain it to anyone else. Yes, every person has its own task in the world.
6.
27 April 1979
Times go by and things change. I am now here, retired to a cattle farm in Panama with my beloved husband. I am very happy here, far from others, but still not far from civilisation. Many people wonder, how I can live here with even no telephone. But I have the nature, birds, animals… One thing that still keeps me connected to my youth is Rudolf and his visits to my farm. Our on-and-off stage relationship has now developed into a lifelong friendship. Part of me wants to be again this young lady, who was once concerned with the rest of the dancers, and most of the audience, about who could ever replace the greatest balerina of those times, Markova. Over the next three years it became apparent that it would be me. But now, looking back at those times, I can truly say that life offstage has sometimes been a wilderness of unpredictables in an unchoreographed world…

May 2nd, 2009

I’ve been planning this event since I was 15 – the massive get-together of all the biggest street artists. And not a public event, but something like a secret meeting instead of a police patrol object. Now, everything is set- we meet in the old Leake street tunnel, no-one knows but the ones that I’ve invited and luckily they are the ones I can trust, ‘cause they’re in the same boat with me. It will last for 3 days and later will conquer the front pages.

Leake st. tunnel

We’ll discuss some further art projects, mark the place and make the tunnel a tourist attraction. Everyone will know this event, The Cans Festival. And how simple it all is! Just inviting some ‘colleagues’ to a party and then everyone talks about it as if it was a new artwork or something. Got to make a new stencil about the naïvetés of society…

 

July12th, 2008

Now what the hell is this!?  I’m coming home from my routine shopping around graffiti shops, entering the house, opening my laptop cover to have a glance at the news and there it is! Hot-tempered, as I am, I had to open the window, smoke a cigarette and calm down before I could read on the article. “Graffiti artist Banksy unmasked … as a former public schoolboy from middle-class suburbia”. Whaaaaaaat??? I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as being ‘good at drawing’ doesn’t sound like Banksy to me. This can’t be real. There’s a picture of a flabby old man in his mid-life crisis and they say it’s me! I never even went to a public school! I can understand that exclusives are hard to find, but making me look stupid in public’s eyes just crosses the line. This is a totally aporetic situation- I can’t even tell the Daily Mail that it’s not me, because I can’t reveal my true identity. Okay…I have to show my irritation against them journalists in my own way– art.

 

June 13th, 2009

I’ve been painting for a year, hardly got out of my studio to get something to eat once in a while. I’ve got 78 new works to exhibit at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, including animatronics and installations- over a 100 works. So far, I think that it’s been the most productive year of my artist’s life…and most self-destroying, smoking over three dozen packs a month and switching from coffee to energy drinks.

'This is where I draw the line' by Banksy

I hate the taste, I’m feeling sick but I love my art. Most artists don’t like their own works but I love the feeling to be the only one in the whole world who knows every step of the paintings’ birth, I am the only one who knows what they actually mean. People look at my works and think about the proportion, colours, items on the picture and so on, but understanding that they are looking at a picture that directly mocks themselves…well, I wouldn’t like to see it too when I look at a pretty painting. Okay, enough of the sentimental artist’s stories, today is the opening of my exhibition and I am going to have a proper meal.

 

 

September, 2009

People think that I’m a cold-hearted street artist from a ghetto, a vandal, who just destroys the friendly image of London. I know that what I do is against the law, but there is no other way I could do it. All artists are not created to put their ideas safely on a piece of paper and then sell it to a museum. Banksy is not a name for a stereotype artist, art for family, without parental advisory. My art is all about communicating to people, this is why I have to bring it to the streets and I truly hate, when I work so hard on something important I want to say and then comes the Hackney Council, who is feeling endangered, says it’s pure vandalism and repaints it. Thanks for helping raise the sense of culture among people, thanks for destroying art, even if the people, the ultimate voice of democracy, say that they are not against my works. Thank you, the rulers of London, for ignoring the people!

 

May, 2010

I don’t really like to swear. I think that some artistic devices give a better opportunity to show one’s annoyance. But when I see that the only people who are valued in our capitalistic society, are rich men in suits, who have graduated the best universities, I would really like to say something nasty. Every parent wants their child to be one of those, but let me tell you something. I have never been one of the bright minds- when my class was voting the competitors for the national quiz, no-one ever considered saying my name. I was never the smart one.

Author: Banksy

And here I am in my stinky apartment, wearing clothes that are probably older than myself, eating garbage and as the Hackneys like to say- also producing garbage. But I would never change places with one of those Oxford graduates, never. Comparing to them, I have worked my arse off, I have given myself friends and enemies from all around the world, I have given myself a name. Somehow I need to show my disapproval against the human-ideals of our society and comparing them to monkeys should be fair enough.

 

May, 2011

Now that’s great- I’ve been scoffing about London, Bethlem, Jerusalem, Sidney, travelling around the world and showing the weaknesses of every place and now they are trying to build a Tesco to my hometown. Bristol is the last place I would make fun of. It’s like irony of fate- until the satanic Tesco, Bristol was the sincerest place I have ever met on planet Earth and I am not letting them take my home without a fight. I am going to wake up the people, run a campaign, and make posters and, well street art.  People around here are kind and sincere, but Tesco Express is just a sulfur tip of a match to put a fire on this city and I can’t let this happen. We’re all fine around here and don’t need a capitalistic monster to destroy our welfare. The first anti-Tesco stencil will be on the walls already this evening and that’s a promise!

Tesco Petrol Bomb