Banksy makes Bank

A Picasso, Lichtenstein, or Warhol, are just some of the prized artists Wendy Asher has on display in her home. Her latest addition to this prestigious collection is a Banksy. After outbidding her opponents and paying a small fortune for the stencil on canvas, she may now dutifully hang it up in the presence of some of the most highly regarded artists in history.

How did Banksy, a daring young lad from Bristol, England, rise to become one of the most talked about artist of our time?

Through clever social and political comments and brilliantly designed stencils, would have to be the best answer. Many regard Banksy as a guerilla artist and political activist. Boldly spray-painting provocative messages, he often places himself within direct line of fire from local media and authorities.

His chosen artistic medium is usually a multi-layered stencil, often accompanied by a message in plain writing. This allows him to paint complex pieces with intricate designs in a matter of minutes. These little gems are seen in back alleys of major cities all across the world.

He enjoys targeting a particular area, such as New Orleans during hurricane Katrina, and painting a piece in relation to current events. After the unmerciful hurricane swept through the city, Banksy jumped in for a splash of satirical expression by dousing its capital in some of his outspoken paint buckets.

Although his work is seen and celebrated by many, his identity is almost completely unknown. A street artist's nature is to remain secretive. But surely his main intention is to avoid the limelight, which his pieces speak so cold-heartedly about.

If you haven't yet understood it, let me make it clear: this masked artist is a genius. His work should be worshiped like the statue.

The tricky part is how do you praise something with a short and undetermined life span? The modern man would tell you to press "shoot" then "send."

The council of Islington, an area of northern London, shows their support by covering all Banksy stencils done in both public areas and private properties with a thick layer of plastic.

If you wake up to see that Banksy has chosen the brick wall of your dilapidated house as his canvas, then look out real-estate market. In one case, the seller decided to put their property on the market shortly after the artist had left his trace, labeling it as a work of art with a house attached.

When asked to comment on his work in his debut film; Exit Through the Gift Shop recently nominated for an Oscar, he describes his line of work as "a bit of a legal gray area".  Surely authorities could track him down and stop his relentless sprees of free thought and creativity; but they would be in direct danger of a monsoon of rebellion crashing and toppling down on every local government from here to Beijing! But really, why haven't they made any attempt to locate and imprison this master "criminal"?

Whether it's out of respect, or the guilty pleasure of drooling over his work, it's clear that he remains a free man in every country.

He acts as a Robin Hood type figure; only he paints for the poor and deals to the rich. In one such case, a canvas of his sold at auction setting a record high selling price for one of his pieces, the following day Banksy created yet another master piece. This time titled, "why do you idiots buy this shit?"

As obnoxious and primitive as some might find his comments, you can't ignore his reverse sense of success and praise, and well-earned adoration by the public and elite members of the art world.