One of Banksy’s most iconic pieces of artwork is the image of the little girl holding a heart-shaped balloon which appears to be drifting away from her. Nearby are the words ‘There is always hope’. The original mural first appeared in 2002 on London’s Waterloo Bridge is usually titled Girl with Balloon.
Banksy is one of the world’s most well-known artists. Born in Bristol, he has long been a household name, creating thought-provoking and often beautiful art – frequently appearing in public as if out of nowhere due to his nocturnal working habits, creating the shock of the unexpected as well as helping to shroud his identity. Banksy started his career as a graffiti artist and was part of a gang named DryBreadZ Crew. Although he began by creating art freehand, he moved to using stencils in the late ‘90s, and his work became widely recognised in the south west of England, mostly centring around Bristol.
In 2005, after many years of local media attention, Banksy’s work on the West Bank barrier between Israel and Palestine received significant media coverage from the world’s press. Flying Balloon Girl features a young girl being held in the air by a clutch of childlike balloons – imagery which Banksy often returns to, and which you can read more about below.
In October 2013, Banksy took to the streets of New York, creating one new piece of public artwork for each day of his stay. During his visit, he sold some of his art for as little as $60 – well below the market value of his work.
Despite being world-famous, Banksy’s identity remains officially unknown. In 2008, The Mail on Sunday claimed that Banksy is Robin Gunningham – but he denied that he was Banksy. In 2016, The Mail also reported that scientists at Queen Mary University of London have used geographic profiling to prove that he is indeed Mr Gunningham.
There is also the famous photo taken by Peter Dean Rickards in Jamaica around 2003 or 2004, which shows a man painting while crouching on the ground: Rickards claimed that this was in fact Banksy. The artist was also alleged to have been present at the 2018 Sotheby’s auction in London of a Banksy artwork for sale – a 2006 painting of Girl with Balloon, in fact – in which the work unexpectedly self-shredded (Banksy’s representatives then renamed the painting Love is in the Bin).
Being Canvas Art Rocks’ most popular canvas ordered by its customers, Girl with Balloon is being exhibited in households around the world. There is a universality to the image that might explain its incredibly broad appeal: in a 2017 UK poll, 2,000 people voted it their favourite piece of art, beating out renowned works such as Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North and Constable’s Hay Wain. The heart-shaped balloon perhaps represents love, hope, innocence, childhood and self-confidence, with the whole piece suggesting the loss of something which was within your grasp. The addition of the words THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE give an ironic, or perhaps moving, dimension to the image, encapsulating Banksy’s typical mix of the emotive and the hard-edged.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hang Banksy artwork on your wall! Canvas Art Rocks’ huge collection of popular Banksy art can be purchased as canvas, a poster, or even as a vinyl sticker.
If you love Banksy’s Girl with Balloon and have already made it part of your canvas collection, why not check out our full range of Banksy artwork, especially while our 3 for 2 sale continues? To help inspire you, we’ve included below three more Banksy prints with similar messages of hope in times of adversity – a reminder we could all always use on our walls.
Banksy graffiti becomes even more meta with this image of a young girl spray-painting the words ‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’. The grittiness of the urban aesthetic gives an edge to the optimistic motto she is printing, making this print a poignant addition to your walls. It’s available with us as a framed canvas print for $39 or poster print for $12, as are all our featured prints here.
Another work in which Banksy uses the motif of the heart-shaped balloon against a scene of despair is featured in this print, the powerful Kids on Gun Hill, which shows a girl, and a boy with a teddy bear, holding hands atop a hill of weapons as the balloon rises up between them.
The original Kids on Guns was first released in 2003 in spray paint and acrylic. It seems to suggest the power and value of love and the purity of childhood innocence in a world of darkness – unity over the discord of war.
Flying Balloon Girl is one of the best known of Banksy’s balloon images and certainly the most powerful, especially in its original context – a wall on Israel’s West Bank, appearing in 2005. It can’t help but be interpreted as a desire for freedom from suffering, articulated via his familiar motif of childhood innocence.