A truck trailer painted at the 1998 Glastonbury music festival by street artist Banksy and former co-conspirator INKIE fetched €625,399 (or the equivalent of $683,993) at a recent auction of contemporary art in Paris. Entitled “Silent Majority,” the collaborative mural on metal that was cut out from the side of a trailer home features military-type characters storming a beach with a sound system and graffiti lettering that read: “It’s better not to rely too much on silent majorities… For silence is a fragile thing. One loud noise and it’s gone.” INKIE said the art was a reference to the rave scene that the authorities were increasingly cracking down on in the UK during the 90s.
The colossal work, which measures 7.8 feet by 32 feet, is considered historically important because it was painted years before Banksy became famous or primarily relied on stencils. “It’s one of the last freehand Banksys left,” said INKIE of its significance.
For at least one of the artists involved with with its creation, it was a night of debauchery that required the help of another writer to finish. “I painted it with Banksy at Glastonbury, got fucked up on molly, drunk and fell off a ladder,” said INKIE to ANIMAL. “I got homeboy LOKEY to finish my outlines.” The Bristol native, who mentored Banksy during his early years, said he thinks they first created the sketch in a pub before they go to the festival. INKIE said that Banksy did the figures freehand and he did the letters. To his recollection, the only stencil used in the production was the one spelling out Banksy’s name.
At the time, Banksy was relatively unknown. It was Banksy’s idea to use the trailer as a canvas, but it was INKIE’s notoriety that helped them secure the space, as he had been making a name for himself for well over a decade. According to the British couple who lived in the trailer, here’s how it initially went down:
So it all started with a phone call from Banksy who had got our number through these mutual friends. We had never heard of Banksy, but had heard of Inkie, another artist who wanted to work with Banksy on our trailer. Inkie was quite a big name in the rave scene doing artwork for Club YeYo t-shirts and the XXX posse, free parties, raves, Amsterdam clubs.
Depending on whom you ask, the amount the artists were compensated varies. According to one account, Banksy was paid about $300 at the time. But INKIE remembers it differently. “We got paint, free tickets, backstage camping, and AAA passes,” he said.
While Banksy frowns on people selling his public art at auction, the street artist gave a de facto approval of the sale and issued the owners a coveted certificate of authenticity. It’s nearly as rare as the art itself.
(Top photo: digard, Middle photo: INKIE)