Banksy's Net Worth Is Higher Than You May Think

Since the mid-1990s, mysterious British artist Banksy has produced groundbreaking, graffiti-inspired works of art on topical subjects, most often in U.K public spaces, but also around the world. And he's done all of this while keeping his true identity secret (whether Banksy is even a man is a matter of some debate, according to Bloomberg.) Not just limited to street art, one of Banksy's paintings "Girl With Red Balloon" sold for £1million, or about $1.4 million, in 2019, only to suddenly be destroyed in a shredder rigged by the artist inside the frame (pictured above) — a thoroughly "Banksy" prank, via the Daily Mail.

How, then, does an artist who's willing to rip his own work of art to shreds make money? What could the net worth of an artist, who actively encourages fans not to buy his art, possibly be? The answer to these questions proves that Banksy not only has many unexpected revenue streams, but that they're much more lucrative than you might expect.

Books and movies

Banksy's work goes beyond just street-inspired graffiti art and traditional mediums like painting. In 2005, he also published a bestselling compilation of his work called "Wall and Piece," and in 2010, he directed a film loosely based on his own life called "Exit Through the Gift Shop," which was nominated for an Oscar, grossing about £3 million (or $4 million) in total, according to The Mirror. When his art does come up for sale, it's also exclusively through his own agency, called "Pest Control," as the Daily Mail reports.

This has given Banksy a stable income beyond just what his works of art may or may not sell for at auction, and his net worth is estimated to be around $50 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Despite this success, Banksy remains steadfast that art, especially graffiti-style art, should not be made for commercial consumption. Per the Daily Mail, Banksy said, "Graffiti art has a hard enough life as it is, before you add hedge fund managers wanting to chop it out and hang it over the fireplace. For the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs, I'd encourage people not to buy anything by anybody, unless it was created for sale in the first place."