When Banksy brought his rat, an angel boy, and a cameraman to Park City, Utah


By Vanessa Zimmer

Everyone in Park City, Utah, remembers when Banksy came to town in 2010.

The famous — and famously anonymous — street artist left as many as seven of his surreptitious murals behind. The flower-admiring cameraman, the angel boy, and the rat are still around.

Sunday, May 14, marked the anniversary of the wide release of Exit Through the Gift Shop, a film that Banksy directed and took to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. A wild-ride story of the counterculture hybrid-graffiti movement that started in the 1990s — involving spray-painted designs made in the dark of night — the film was nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Oscar.

Not to minimize the influence of the documentary, but it’s the street art that Banksy created in Park City, the heart of the Festival, that still resonates in that community today. “It’s a real draw for people who come to Park City,” says Randy Barton, director of the Egyptian Theatre and first caretaker of the Banksy rat, in a phone interview. “It’s another great part of our small town that has world-class art.” 

But let’s back up a second for a quick bio on the artist. Banksy is a creative from Bristol, England, who became active in graffiti art in the 1990s. At first, he painted freehand, but he eventually developed a signature style using stencils. His works typically convey an anti-establishment, anti-violence, or anti-capitalist sentiment. (One famous piece depicts a masked man lobbing a bouquet of flowers as if it were a Molotov cocktail.) He often features children, apes, and, yes, rodents in his art. 

Banksy’s true identity has remained unconfirmed all these years, in part because, as you may know, graffiti is illegal in most parts of the world. Still, there are Banksys in big cities around the world, London, New York, and Paris among them.

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