In a Toike Oike exclusive, British artist Banksy recently opened up about his humble beginnings before he became internationally recognized for his guerilla-style graffiti stencils.
“I started on MS Paint,” he explained, “with the dinky blue graffiti can and a mouse that was bloody hard to control. Christ.”
Microsoft Paint, or MS Paint, reached the height of its popularity during the Windows 95/98/XP Era. The program came after a period of oppression brought about by a stagnant art industry that had struggled to innovate and adapt to a digital medium. MS Paint has been credited with ushering in a new artistic and cultural movement known as the Interlightenment.
“I used it to practise my tag. It had that squiggle maker, too. I always liked the squiggly thing,” said Banksy.
A new documentary entitled Saving Banksy is set to be released sometime next year. It sheds light on an industry that revolves around street art being removed from its location and placed in galleries or sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars to collectors.
“Seems pretty wild to think it all started by tinkering around on my clunky Dell in my mum’s basement, dunnit?” said Banksy. “Looks like the industry is up to its old tricks.”
When asked what kinds of things he used to draw, he said: “Boobs mostly. A lot of boobs. Dicks—like the really basic ones that are about three lines. I would mess about doodling my cat and trees and whatnot. Just usual things.”
“I never expected my work would get where it is now. I mean, I wasn’t not serious about my art, but back then it was just for fun. Simpler times, ya know? Drawing the lads as stick figures with puby hair and only having a few colours to use. Bless it. It built character for sure.”
Banksy’s early work on MS Paint, including The Son of Boob, Nightboobs and Starry Boob, are set to be displayed at the Tate Modern in London this spring.