Friday, March 4, 2011

Banksy Didn't Win, Maybe I Will

For those of you who keep up with Hollywood's awards season you know that Banksy's documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated for an Oscar. It didn't win the Oscar, though it did win an Independent Spirit Award. The iconoclast street artist made a brilliant film that skewers the consumer culture that has made him a star. Because I've worked on numerous graffiti and street art books, I was lucky enough to attend an exclusive screening of the film. It floored me, and prompted me to write Chasing the Whale: Banksy, Obsession, and the Sea for The Millions.

Now I'm trying to drum up votes for the piece to make it to the next round of the 3 Quarks Daily Prize in Arts and Literature. Actual judges will decide the winners and award cash prizes, but for them to even consider this essay I need enough votes to get it in front of their eyes.

Here's the essay's opening to whet your appetite:

There is nothing positive about the dictionary definition of “obsession” – it haunts, is abnormal and persistent, like a bad rash. Tossing the word into a conversation typically indicates some form of criticism about a person and that person’s particular pursuit. Obsessions can lead to stalkers, delusion and great creations (the last two are not mutually exclusive); they can limit and restrict you to minutia or endow a unique vision that changes how you and others view the world at large. People indulge obsession in different ways – live it like a lifestyle or stir it into a creation like a minor but crucial recipe ingredient where it doesn’t overpower anything and complements everything.

Go ahead and read the whole thing, or don't, but vote for #50 either way!

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