Contemporary Street Art: How Banksy's Little Girl with a Balloon became an icon

Contemporary Street Art: How Banksy's Little Girl with a Balloon became an icon

Added Sep 8, 2021 - 3 minutes read

Balloon girl or Girl with Balloon is one of Banksy’s most important works. It demonstrates the graffiti stencil technique that has made Banksy famous around the globe.

Banksy's street-art creations are easily identifiable at a glance. But the British artist keeps the identity of Banksy a mystery, and even manages keep professional artists in the contemporary art field guessing.

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One of the most iconic graffiti paintings in the world is "The Little Girl with a balloon". It all started one day in 2012 with Banksy's whimsical imagination. He imagines a little girl holding a red balloon with a heart shape. The vision was a dream that he graffitied on a wall in London, below the Waterloo Bridge. While the stencil has been removed, the image remains a classic in the world street art. This work quickly made Banksy famous, as it perfectly illustrated a graffiti stencil technique.

Learn more about Banksy's Girl With Balloon Series 

Balloon girl or Girl with Balloon is one of Banksy’s most important works. It demonstrates the graffiti stencil technique that has made Banksy famous around the globe.

In 2004/2005, the work was released in signed and unsigned print sizes in low edition sizes. There are only 150 Girl With Balloon signed prints and 600 unsigned prints. This makes it one of the most sought after works in the artist's collection.

The painting depicts a young girl whose hair and dress blow in the wind. She is reaching for or releasing a red heart-shaped balloon that has fallen from her grasp. The powerful message of the gesture and the red balloon that is an archetypal symbol for childhood and freedom can be read in many ways. The meaning of the gesture can be read in many ways. It could be seen as the girl losing the balloon or trying to catch it.

The work was originally displayed in London's Southbank, with a quote that said "there is always hope"

It was later covered up by the council. In response Banksy produced it again in a new context - a miniature version appeared on the cardboard backing of a cheap Ikea frame which quickly made its mark on the art market when it realised PS73,250 at a sale at Bonhams in 2012.

Versions of Girl With Balloon have achieved much higher than this. Girl with Balloon - Colour AP (Gold) realised PS1,104,000 at Sotheby's Modern Renaissance: A Cross-Category Sale in 25 March 2021, almost double its high estimate. The auction record for a Banksy screenprint was broken by Girl with Balloon – Colour AP (Purple) at Christie's in September 2020, which sold for PS791,250.


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Communicator and artist

The artist is still mysterious and refuses to reveal his identity. His works are not canonical. Banksy has taken the Little Girl with a Balloon multiple times to support migrants, as well. The artist is known for his excellent communication skills. One of his reproductions was partially destroyed by the audience in 2018 during an auction. Banksy apparently wanted to condemn the commodification his art. Now, the work's value has increased by two-fold!

Jean Dubreil Portrait By Jean Dubreil
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