Two paintings by the elusive British graffiti artist, Banksy, have been affected by vandalism in Park City, Utah on New Year’s Eve. One of the paintings may be damaged beyond repair.
Banksy is famous for his mysterious works, which suddenly appear on the sides of buildings in cities he has visited around the world. The paintings usually relate to the politics of the day and show much humor and exceptional artwork.
Park City Utah hosts the Sundance Film Festival and in 2010, Banksy was in town to celebrate the debut of his documentary film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, at the festival. During that time his intriguing and mysterious art popped up in the streets of the city, causing outrage among some folks initially, but soon the artwork was accepted by the town and the paintings have become the most-photographed locations in Park City.
One of the murals shows a cameraman, stooping down to take video footage of a flower. This painting was covered securely with protective glass and was fortunately not damaged by the vandal, who merely managed to damage the glass itself.
The other painting, located at 537 Main Street, shows a young boy with angel wings and a pink halo, praying, covered by a thick, glass protective covering.
The protective covering on this painting was shattered, and the entire painting sprayed over with brown paint, completely destroying the mural.
Police so far have no motive for the crime, but surveillance footage did catch a white male suspect at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, apparently tampering with the artwork. The photos show a man, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and located at 402 and 537 Main Street, the locations of the paintings, about 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
According to Sergeant Jay Randall, police hope to release images of the man to aid in their investigations.
Local residents look on the paintings as a point of pride and so far it is not clear whether the mural of the boy can be restored. It is also not sure how much the paintings were worth, as Banksy’s work sells for thousands worldwide. In fact, certain of Banksy’s art has sold at auction for as much as $1.1 million.
However, the police are reportedly giving a rough value for the glass and damaged art of around $15,000. Randall did say that because the work was not actually sanctioned, it might need a judge to decide the actual value of the paintings.
A business owner has apparently offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information which could lead to a conviction in the crime.
Alison Butz, executive director of the The Historic Park City Alliance says that the town has embraced the paintings and that the works feature prominently on the alliance’s website.
A Banksy mural, painted on the side of a Hollywood gas station around five years ago apparently last month went for $200,000 at an auction in Beverly Hills.
In October 2013, New York City was all abuzz as Banksy was in the city and left some of his famous artwork in various spots around town. At one stage, a stall was set up in Central Park reportedly selling his original signed work at only $60 each. As can be seen from the video at the end of this article, most people just merely walked on by.
Lovers of his murals will be upset indeed to hear that Banksy paintings in Park City, Utah have been vandalized.
By Anne Sewell