When I sat down to watch Sunday night cartoons this week, the intro for The Simpsons had a pretty cool intro. When I first watched it I just thought the word Banksy being written on a few walls was just a pop cultural reference thrown in just because that is what the Simpsons does.
Then when Bart was writing on the chalkboard it said something about how he must not write on the walls. Another Graffiti reference. I thought "Oh, since other episodes of the Simpsons have featured graphic novel artists, and other pop artists, maybe Banksy guest stars for some reason."
Then the "couch gag" happened, and it was very cool looking, and satirical and sad all at the same time.
It wasn't till the next day that I found out that Banksy had actually directed it. But why? He is known for his graffiti art, and his "appropriation" of Paris Hilton's album, both of which usually try to make comments about the society, or the way a certain institution is run.
It seems unlikely for a company to allow an outsider to come in and make something for them that ends up showing them in a negative light, it seems just as unlikely that an artist like Banksy would join forces with a Television cartoon show. So what was he trying to say about the Simpsons, or 20th Century Fox?
Part of me wonders if it was nothing more than to become a bigger part of pop culture? To get his name out a broader audience, while making a joke about the state of corporate branding? He did get everyone talking about the Simpsons again, and he did get his name out there to a broader American audience. Just google "Banksy Simpsons" and see all the news reports, and blogs about this 2 minutes of animation. It's win win. Here is a link to a page where the video can be found.
You can also see versions of it on Youtube, but the quality does not seem to be as good.