Slippery Rock University students walking from the dorms to their 8 a.m. class Monday morning may have been shocked to see a giant squid in front of Building D. The squid, a chalk drawing by an anonymous artist under the pseudonym SRUBanksy, featured a message that read “Mondays suck, here’s a squid,” and included #SRUBanksy.
Within the first day of the drawing’s reveal, students have commented that it’s “#amazingart” and “AWESOME” on Twitter as well as complimenting the artist’s talent. In an exclusive interview, SRUBanksy, who chose to remain anonymous, responded to the feedback.
“I’m not doing this for attention or to showcase any talent, I am doing this to inspire. Art is my catharsis,” SRUBanksy said. “Who wouldn’t be flattered by a positive response right? That doesn’t mean I think the responses will always be positive, but that’s what is great about art. If everyone had the same opinion about everything, we would be pretty boring. I am really grateful for all the positive feedback and constructive criticism; it’s very motivating.”
The name chosen is a shoutout to United Kingdom-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter, Banksy.
“I pull a lot of inspiration and styles from various artists, but I chose Banksy for two main reasons. 1. He tries to remain incognito 2. He sends a message in his pieces and makes people think,” SRUBanksy said. “I chose SRUBanksy because I thought it was very appropriate for what I am going for here. Banksy has sort of a dark humor to his work, that is what speaks to me about him, but in no way, shape or form am I trying to copy that. I want to keep original, and SRUPicasso just didn’t sound right.”
So, why a giant squid?
“There is no specific reason honestly,” SRUBanksy said.
The message of the piece though, is to “expect the unexpected.”
“You never know what you might see or what might inspire you,” SRUBanksy said. “Not many people would expect a huge squid to be outside the door on their way to their 8 a.m.; I like the element of surprise.”
For SRUBanksy, the inspiration can come from anywhere.
“I draw my inspiration from the people around me, events in my life, and what is going on in the current day,” SRUBanksy said. “I believe art shapes us as people in more ways than one. We don’t realize how much art is a part of our everyday life. I think art makes us think, and that is what I want people to do with my art.”
SRUBanksy promises, “You’ll be seeing more from me,” but still under the anonymous cover.
“This way, viewers aren’t putting a face to the work or a persona to the piece, just a straight opinion and appreciation. My point is: I could be anyone on this campus that is doing this, so then why couldn’t you be too, no matter what your major or minor is? I don’t think we realize how much of an influence our voices can have, no matter what way they are projected. Plus a little mystery is more fun.”