The art scene has enjoyed Banksy’s satirical street art all over the world. Painter, political activist and film director, Banksy has painted a number of distinctive pencil stencils. Unequivocally, a legend in the art industry.
What a man can do a woman can do better. Meet Bambi, the female Banksy. Bambi, is, however, a pseudonym of this British artist. She has grown to be a household name with her spray cans and stencils over the last eight years. Very little is known about her personal life. Just like her brother-in-crime, her identity is well hidden and sort of an adventure for art lovers at the same time. Only a select group of individuals know her true identity, namely her mother, manager, and the only and only Banksy.
Working in the cover of night, her wonderful pieces come to life. Despite her attempts to keep a secret identity, she has alluded to the fact that she has a successful pop career. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who she could be.
In an interview with Daily Mail in 2014, Bambi revealed she went to the City & Guilds of London Art school, one of England’s longest established art schools. She later went on to an MA from Central Saint Martin’s School of arts. From what began as ‘childhood vandalism’, came out a successful career on the streets of London and beyond.
Bambi is said to draw her inspiration from the likes of Andy Warhol, a prominent American artist, and leading figure in visual arts and an avid collector.
While pieces of her work going for tens of thousands of pounds, famous personalities are itching to get their hands on a piece of art from Bambi. In 2011, rapper Kanye West commissioned a portrait for his wife. Bambi, in turn, created an amazing semi-nude portrait of Kim Kardashian that sprung her into the limelight. Since then, A-list personalities such as Rihanna, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Robbie Williams (just to name a few) have all come out in support of her work and often paying hefty sums of money to own her artwork.
Despite the bevy of important people seeking to hang her artwork on their walls, Bambi has gone on record for rejecting Harry Styles request to mural walls of his house. All in order to maintain her level of anonymity in the industry.
Bambi’s other famous works are such as It always seems impossible until it’s done, to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. Usain Bolt’s To Di World and the Jubilee Tribute of the Queen, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’. Portraying a young Queen Elizabeth II on the throne.
While critics claim she may lack in Banksy’s wit, Bambi brings out a feminine touch and a taste of color and glamour. Using modern public figures, she paints to address contentious political and social concerns in the society.
Over time Bambi has expressed her concerns on being referred to as ‘the female Banksy’ and therefore not being recognized for her own talent. Which speaks for itself. Citing the obnoxious male-dominated industry and society in general. Gender is important to Bambi as the message she paints out. Bambi’s use of social commentary, according to her, is to save the world by providing relevant social material to discuss current and future challenges.
Michael Sakhai, of Walton Fine Arts, is Bambi’s original gallerist. The two began working together when Bambi first walked into his gallery in 2010. Walton Fine Arts hosted Bambi’s first ever public exhibition dubbed, ‘When Banksy met Bambi’ at the Walton Fine Art Gallery in April of 2013. The main aim of this exhibition was to showcase not only the difference but the similarities in the two artists.
Over time, authorities caught up with Banksy’s paintings and had them repainted. The same fate has befallen Bambi’s artwork such as Amy Winehouse’s Amy Jade in the past with their getting defaced in the streets of Camden. Amy Jade has since been repainted and protected using perspex screen.
Bambi has also hit the headlines when her painting was stolen from a gallery in Islington, London. The five stolen stencil pieces were set to be auction the next day to assist in a charity for Art Against Knives.
In a 2017-mural painting called ‘Lie Lie Land’, Bambi painted US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a dance pose. Made popular by the movie ‘La La Land’, the painting on the corner of 40 Cross Street and Shillingford street was met by mixed reactions from both fronts and quickly became a tourist attraction until it was painted over by city officials. Bambi’s reason for painting this mural was to highlight the current social and political injustices.
Whether her fans will get to know Bambi’s real identity remains a mystery. What is clear though is her stardom will continue to rise as long as there’s wall to paint on an audience that will take note and take action on the important issues affecting each of us from day to day.