Balloon Girl, or Girl With Balloon, is one of Banksy’s most notable works, demonstrating the graffiti stencil technique Banksy has become renowned for the world over.
The work depicts a young girl, whose hair and dress are blowing in the wind, reaching for, or releasing, a red, heart-shaped balloon that has slipped from her grasp, flying out of reach.
The red balloon is an archetypal symbol many of us connect with, as the only spot of color in the work, more than a child’s toy, the red balloon evokes the fragility of what it stands for: innocence, dreams, hope, and love.
Banksy is a contemporary British street artist and activist who, despite his international fame, has maintained an anonymous identity. Aimed as a form of cultural criticism, the artist often targets established social and political agendas with his witty illustrations produced with stencils and spray paint in cities such as London, Bristol, New Orleans, New York, and Paris.
“The art world is the biggest joke,” he said. “It’s a rest home of the over-privileged, the pretentious, and the weak.” Although details of the artist’s life are largely unknown, it is thought that Banksy was born in Bristol, United Kingdom, c. 1974, starting his career as a graffiti artist in the city.