10 of Banksy’s Most Cryptic Pieces

Known for creating street art full of social and political undertones, the anonymous artists Banksy has risen to fame and regarded as one of the most sought after artists of modern day art. With pieces selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, Banksy has profited greatly just by expressing his societal qualms on the sides of building and on commissioned projects. Admittedly, Banksy’s art can be difficult to wrap your head around, so we challenge you to think about these 13 cryptic Banksy pieces.

Olympics 2012

During the 2012 London Olympics, Banksy took full advantage of the populated city to mark up walls with various images related to the sports festival. Ranging from this missile launching javelin thrower, to this  mid-air pole vaulter headed for a filthy mattress, Banksy’s political sentiments leave us wondering

“Going For Mould”

Banksy’s additional installment to his Olympic themed set depicts a hooded person stealing the red ring from the Olympic rings. We’re getting the vibe that Banksy isn’t fond of the Olympics.


One of Banksy’s signature creatures is his depiction of rats. In his book “Wall and Piece”, Banksy confessed his fascination with the pesky rodents.  “They exist without permission. They are hated, hunted, and persecuted. They live in quiet desperation amongst the filth. And yet they are capable of bringing entire civilizations to their knees. If you are dirty, insignificant and unloved then rats are the ultimate role model.”

Banksy’s rats can be found along the sides of streets painting graffiti, carrying cameras, toting boomboxes, everyday occurrence that can be paralleled to human life. What do you think Banksy is trying to convey?

Let Them Eat Crack

Banksy crossed the Atlantic and landed in New York City, utilizing the entirety of a building side to paint a giant rat sporting a tie and carrying a briefcase overflowing with money. With hands blooded from the paint on the wall, the rat is the clear author of “Let Them Eat Crack”. Spinning Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”, Banksy’s commentary on social class and greed makes us think.

One Nation Under CCTV

After being granted permission for a large creation on the outer wall of a Post Office yard, Banksy used the given space cleverly. The piece depicts a young boy on a ladder revealing giant blocked lettering reading “One Nation Under CCTV”. The piece is perfectly placed where several closed-circuit cameras surveil the area.


Terrifyingly enough, a Banksy stencil of infamous sociopath Charles Manson stood on the side of a building in North London. Manson sports his prison attire and a thumb up in the air looking for a ride “Anywhere”. We still can’t make sense of this one, but are still spooked by it.

Cardinal Sin

No stranger to controversy, when Banksy revealed his sculpted piece “Cardinal Sin”, it was the talk of the town with outrage and awe met equally. A replica of an 18th century bust of a priest, the cross toting figure’s face is completely pixelated. Revealed at a time of contention with the Catholic church dealing with a mass of sexual abuse cases, we’re onto Banksy’s thinking here.

The Armored Dove

A symbol of peace wearing a bulletproof vest, offering in its beak and a target on its chest, The Armored Dove is one of Banksy’s most powerful pieces.

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