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Graffiti artwork has always been something people disregard. People pass it by on the walls of alleyways, on bridges, on train cars, and never pay much attention. The world looks at graffiti as something rebellious teens do to get an adrenaline rush, or break the rules. The artist Banksy, shows that graffiti can be so much more than just spray paint on a wall: it can send a message. Banksy has done graffiti art all over the walls of England, each one sending a different message and standing out to the viewer for its modern style.
The image Banksy has created is located in a dark alleyway, or run down part of town. The viewer can see that by looking at the splattered paint, chipped rock, and cracks in the wall. These features show that this particular part of town isn’t that well taken care of. Dark colors, such as army greens, dull greys, and charcoal blacks, set the gloomy mood in this piece. The main focus of this image, is the child-like bodies with television sets as heads. The figures are set in the middle of the wall, where a dim light illuminates the bodies and the center of the wall. There are cables attached to the child-like bodies, hanging from behind them. The cables present the idea that the figures need to be plugged in to function. In this image, the child-like bodies are black, and look like silhouettes. The television sets have a single red spot on top of them with two antennas sticking out. The screens are black and the box of the television is white. Overall, the feel of this image is dreary, with being in a dark alleyway and on a rundown wall.
Banksy argues that the media and constant use of electronics is controlling the younger generations, by showing three small figures with television sets as heads. The most prominent part of this piece, is each figures head. This shows the audience viewing the image, that there is a takeover of the brain, whether it be electronics or media. By having the heads be television sets, the artist is arguing that electronics are the only thing that the youth focuses on in this day and age. The younger generations are constantly on social media, playing games, or watching videos, and it is consuming their brains. Children and teens are constantly on their phones or tablets whether it be at dinner, in school, during their free time, and even at social events. Their brains are being controlled by what they see on the screens. The kid bodies add to the image to send the message that the media and the electronic age have the greatest effect on the youth. Behind the bodies hang cables with plugs at the end. This is adding to the control part of the argument. Banksy wants to show the metaphor of the youth needing to be “plugged in” to function, just like a television set needs to be plugged in to turn on. Today’s youth is rarely ever seen without some sort of electronic device in hand. Banksy is adding to the argument by portraying that without a device or being “plugged in,” younger people can’t function or “turn on.”
There is repetition in this graffiti painting, of the television sets and kid bodies. The three figures all the look the same, displaying that due to the media and what the youth sees on television, they don’t want to be their own person. With this repetition of the bodies and television heads, Banksy progresses his argument. The media whether it be social, print, or televised, shows images and videos that are directed towards youth. When the younger generations see these images and videos, they lose their sense of independence and want to be exactly like what they see in the media. No one wants to be an outcast anymore, all they care about is what everyone is wearing, listening to, and doing. In this image there is also a binary of light versus dark. The edges of the wall are dark, dim, and gloomy and the inside around the center is bright, focusing one’s attention there. This use of lighting forces the viewer to look deeper into the main part of the image and think about the argument Banksy has created.
The body language of the child-like figures stands out in this image. The overall mood of the image is gloomy and dark, but the bodies look like joyous, happy, children playing or dancing. There is no negative aspect to their body language, besides the dark color. The pleasant movement of the bodies causes the viewer to be slightly confused and start to question the piece. If these figures are dancing and playing, is all the electronic activity and social media really such a bad thing? One could argue that this photo frames the joys that television and media bring children, but that would only be focusing on the body language, and bright light in the center of the wall. With all of the evidence provided, such as the television heads showing brain corruption, the cables showing control, and the child-like bodies portraying youth, there is no doubt that the message Banksy is trying to send is a dark one. There isn’t much happiness in this piece of artwork. The use of dim colors, the depreciated part of town, and the cracked wall, are all examples of the forlorn tone in this image. Due to the world being so technologically advanced, it is hard for one to not get caught up in all the new devices and what they have to offer. Banksy is arguing the negative effects of these advancements. Of course, one could argue about how research is thriving and how information can be sent out at almost the speed of light, but at the same time, the minds of younger generations are suffering and they don’t even know it. The artist went out of his way and against the law to create this image, and to send the message that this generation of electronics and constant media attention, is destroying the youth.
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