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15 Life Lessons From Banksy Street Art That Will Leave You Lost For Words

15 Life Lessons From Banksy Street Art That Will Leave You Lost For Words

Using striking stencil art and profound imagery, Banksy has captured the interest of art lovers, activists, and graffiti artists around the globe. His mysterious identity (and refusal to use social media accounts) has only sparked more intrigue, with media outlets and fans prying to earn a peek into his life. But why use graffiti as a means to communicate?

By displaying art in crowded cities across the world, Banksy puts social and political issues in our face. These pieces force us to stop and think—something that we often avoid doing in our day-to-day lives.

15. Set moral boundaries.

Banksy Hitchiker to Anywhere

    This ominous image of a hitchhiking Charles Manson stands outside of London’s Archway Tube Station. Could it be a reference to the pervasive influence of evil in society? An ominous warning that evil can be lurking on any corner? Perhaps we should be more restrictive of what kinds of influences we allow in our everyday lives.

    14. Remember where you came from.

    Banksy Apeman

      Those who pass this piece in Los Angeles may wonder if they’re being warned, mocked, or simply entertained by a peculiar caveman with his fast food combo meal. Perhaps this is simply a subtle reminder of our human nature—and of those things that we’ve adopted that aren’t so natural.
      As crazy as it is to see a caveman carrying a fast food tray, is it really that much crazier for us to consume grease-soaked, nutritionless meals?

      13. Let your actions match your words.

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      banksy street art meaning

        Have you ever been frustrated by a parent who said, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Maybe Banksy was too, before allegedly creating this piece in the London Borough of Hounslow. This piece brings to light the contradiction between what human behaviors are expected, and how people actually behave. We’re often told to be good by some of the very people that are doing just the opposite. Actions speak louder than words, so make sure your actions don’t contradict your words.

        12. Everyone’s got skeletons.

        Park Street Banksy

          This rather humorous scene is one of Banksy’s most famous, painted in Bristol, England. Along with the idea that we’ve all got some things to hide, this piece seems to warn us that things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t blindly believe everything you’re told, as someone’s dishonesty may be creating an illusion.

          11. There is always hope.

          there_is_always_hope_by_jackhollow

            This message is clearly etched in the wall beside this London piece. While the image may symbolize loss, the text clearly tells us that no amount of loss can eliminate hope. This is a gentle reminder to remain positive instead of wallowing in our losses.

            10. Strive for peace.

            Banksy Airstrike

              This San Francisco piece demands that we examine ourselves—particularly, how we solve problems. Instead of resorting to violence and immature tantrums, we should aim to be reasonable and fair. This is one of many Banksy pieces that pushes us to question our government and the decisions made by our leaders.

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              9. Love is not lust.

              Banksy New York

                This dismal scene, painted outside of a New York City strip club seems to highlight the ugly truth about society’s sex obsession: it never leads to fulfillment—at least not for this poor guy. Banksy posted the phrase, “waiting in vain” along with a picture of the stencil on his website, suggesting he’s in the wrong place if he wants to find genuine love.

                8. All love is valid.

                Love Banksy

                  This piece, outside of a Brighton pub, blatantly displays two uniformed male officers kissing. Banksy seems to be asking us, “Who’s to say what is appropriate?” Whether “conventional” or not, love is love. This piece suggests that love should be accepted publicly and displayed freely, no matter what kind it is.

                  7. Be humble.

                  monkey

                    Let’s face it: most humans need a lesson in humility. We’ve caused tragedies for other species, the environment, and other humans without even recognizing any wrong-doing. Banksy reportedly painted several of these pieces, reminiscent of the popular anecdote: don’t step on the little people to get to the top, as you may need them on your way back down. More importantly, don’t step on people because it’s wrong. Practice humility, and you will naturally earn respect without having to mistreat anyone.

                    6. Utilize kindness.

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                    Banksy Flower Thrower

                      This London piece of a protester throwing a bouquet of flowers may be Banksy’s most famous piece thus far. The remarkable idea behind this piece is the use of unexpected weapons. The protester fights not with a grenade or other harmful device, but with an innocent bouquet of flowers. This suggests we may be able to get more done by negotiating kindly, not malevolently.

                      5. Express yourself.

                      Bansky LA

                        This New York piece illustrates self-expression with a graffiti artist puking flowers. The caption tied to this piece is “better out than in,” indicating that if you have something to express, it’s best to let it out rather than hold it in. We certainly wouldn’t hold it in if we felt the need to puke. So why hold in our emotional needs, like the need to express and create? Whether physical or emotional, some things need to be let out, lest we be left with a sour stomach.

                         4. Live in the moment.

                        Bansky Texting

                          One of Banksy’s most recent pieces, entitled Mobile Lovers, was also done in Bristol. This not-so-subtle reference to modern technology warns us to be conscious of what we’re spending our time and attention on. Nothing that exists on a screen in more important than what is happening right in front of us. By being constantly preoccupied, we could miss out on meaningful opportunities and connection with others.

                          3. Don’t be so full of yourself.

                          Banksy Echoes in Eternity

                            Another New York piece of Banksy’s casually knocks us down to reality. As humans, we like to believe that our lives have significance and that we’re unique from everyone else. This piece can be viewed as something that knocks us down a peg, but in a good way. Everyone lives the same struggle. Life is finite, and that’s okay. Don’t do things in order to be remembered; do things in order to be a good person.

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                            2. Don’t let others deter you.

                            Banksy Dreams Cancelled

                              This Boston piece, one of Banksy’s most famous, takes yet another swing in the name of disappointed idealism. Many of us feel forced to give up our dreams, never pursuing them due to financial burdens or other hardships. This may serve as a wake up call for those of us who’ve been asleep. Ultimately, we should follow our dreams, regardless of outside discouragement.

                              1. Listen to your heart.

                              Bansky Doctor

                                Perhaps the most obvious and adorably heartwarming translation of this San Francisco piece is “listen to your heart.” While harsh realities and unforgiving satire are typically Banksy’s style, a bit of optimism seeps through here. This listening doctor serves as an inspiring reminder. Are we living up to the request?

                                Featured photo credit: Gary Soup via images.search.yahoo.com

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                                Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                                How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                                If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                                Example 1

                                You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                                You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                                In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                                Example 2

                                You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                                People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                                You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                                Example 3

                                You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                                The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                                Example 4

                                You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                                Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                                If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                                Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                                • Understand your own communication style
                                • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                                • Communicate with precision and care
                                • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                                1. Understand Your Communication Style

                                To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                                In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                                Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                                2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                                Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                                If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                                “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                                This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                                To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                                3. Exercise Precision and Care

                                A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                                On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                                Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                                I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                                I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                                In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                                The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                                Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                                4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                                Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                                In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                                “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                                Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                                Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                                It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                                It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                                It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                                Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                                Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                                The Bottom Line

                                When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                                I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                                Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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