Artists: You don’t have to sell out to cash in.

We all heard about it. Oh yes, as soon as the news broke out 42,305 of us went and promptly watched the clip on Youtube before Fox promptly pulled it down. But as The Simpsons intro designed by Banksy isn’t to be aired until the 21st October, the hype that was created was merely a trophy in Fox’s promotion cabinet.  And Banksy was the cabinet key.

I can’t really understand how the collaboration took place between the elusive artist and the prominent company, but it’s been reported that Banksy was somehow tracked down by the producers in order to create the opening sequence for The Simpsons.  I wonder who was hurt and maimed in the process.


I just find the whole thing a bit, well I don’t know. Banksy, an unseen artist with an anti-capitalist and anti-establishment agenda hooking up with the producers of one of the most successful television brands, The Simpsons. How can an artist who is purely know by his work and not by his image or by the parties he goes to, be found and bought by a big mainstream company? Isn’t he all about creeping around outside whilst the corporate capitalists gorge on their hog roast?

I know I sound like I’m having a go; I’m not. After all, I was one of the 42,305 who went and had a look online at the clip. And it seems that, whilst he was bought, it wasn’t as if he sold his soul down the river. The clip itself is not exactly singing the praises of The Simpsons, with images of behind the scene productions in a sewer-like factory in South Korea with an enslaved panda and a dying unicorn doing their bit. So whilst Banksy may have been acquired by Fox, he didn’t sell his agenda and still managed to put forward his message. Good for him. I guess.


Oh, I don’t know why I’m even getting myself in a tizz about this. After all, worse things happen at sea. And he’s not the only outsider artist to be invited into the cosy and safe haven of the mainstream producers. Hey, Dali did it. And who would have seen that coming? Salvador Dali with his melting clocks and The Great Masturbator collaborating with Walt Disney, the sugar-coater himself? Well, those two got it on and boy, did they create something!

But it wasn’t easy. After storyboarding the animated short film for eight months in 1945, the project came to a halt. And why? Well,the now richy-rich Walt Disney Studios were going through some financial troubles and had to cease production. I imagine there was a bit of half-hearted chatter about the film getting back on track, you know like “yeah, yeah, sure thing, let’s do it”, kind of like when you bump into an acquaintance on the street and finish with a farewell “yeah, let’s do something soon”. The “doing” never happens, whether or not it is soon.

And Dali’s film didn’t get looked at too soon either. Fifty-four years later and Destino is uprooted, dusted off and gazed at in wonder, like a newly discovered dinasour bone. Although it would still be another four years until the film was actually premiered. And by that time Dali was dead.

So the film was made without Dali there and who knows how much it was changed behind his dead back. However, I seem to have less of a problem with Dali and Disney duo then I do with Banksy and The Simpsons. Don’t even begin to question it; I’m still trying to work it out myself.

On the surface, the two situations are pretty much the same. But somehow, because of Banksy’s identity or rather lack of, and his whole anti-establishment vibe, I can’t deal with it as well as Dali, the surrealist painter who was so very out there, both with his work and his moustache. And even though Banksy’s message was reinforced in the sequence, because it was used by The Simpsons, it felt as if it was being used ironically for the benefit of the programme. HE HAS BEEN HAD!

Snow White

But Dali (who was something of a good-time guy and didn’t seem to worry about putting forward an intense agenda) made friends with Disney, who apparently gave him complete freedom when storyboarding. Whether or not this was the intention and Dali got a bit wild, who’s to say, but the end product of Destino isn’t as disturbing as you would have thought. Oh it’s no sacharine drenched, syrup trickling Disney film and it does contain Daliesque imagery. It’s just the ballerina does look similar to your standard Disney princess; thin with great bone structure and immaculate eyebrows. But she does get naked and her head does turn into a dandelion. Snow White she ain’t.

Away from the big scale company collaborations, Banksy and Dali both produced their own films, well with a bit of help, I’m sure. The Banksy film is interesting to look at regarding The Simpsons opening sequence as Exit Through The Gift Shop questions what makes art succesful and whether art can just be good autonomously or if it depends on it’s popularity and audience response. Well, Mr Banksy, it’s a good question. And where are you going?  Oh, only to auction with your £288,000 canvas.

Try as I might with Un Chien Andalou, the surrealist film by Dali and his pal Luis Bunuel, I can’t find any serious point lying around. Or maybe it’s “don’t put a scalpel to your eye as it will just slice it”. It could be that the point is, there is no point. But, as with everything these days, most people will watch a film and try and find some meaning. But WHHYYY?? Well go for it, but Bunuel made it very clear that when he and Dali were writing the script, the only rule was that “no idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted”. So, Mr Thinker, go stick that in your pondering pipe and smoke away! And to those attempting to interpret the images? Well, “Nothing, in the film, symbolizes anything”. Bet that stopped you in your analytical tracks.

So, whilst a tissue for my issue may clean me up, the troubles remain deep within. Dali, who wanted to stop people from analysing his film (yeah, good luck with that) went about his business, ended up getting together with Walt, making a cracking short film that animated his vibe. And Banksy. Well, for someone who’s all about being an anti-capitalist outsider, then he’s kind of in there at the moment, sipping on a Starbucks and playing with his iphone.

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