There’s a maxim among creators of any kind of art: You must always remember there are three points to the triangle – the artist, the artwork and the public. London’s Other Art Fair (not to be confused with Frieze or The Affordable Art Fair) commissioned a survey among a thousand British artists to see who was the most popular. More specifically, they wanted to know which artist and piece of art best expressed the national identity.
The results are surprising. Waterhouse, Constable, Turner, Freud, Gilbert & George, Bacon – God forbid we go back to Hogarth – were all kept off the top of the list by Banksy, the graffiti artist councils love to paint over, but who strikes a chord with artists and public alike. It’s clearly a question of communicating clearly.
The number one artwork chosen as that which most expresses the British identity was the Kissing Coppers. Banksy was once quoted as saying; ‘People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish…but only if it’s done properly’. The artist’s work, originally sprayed on the side of a Brighton pub, was eventually sold off and shipped to America.