There’s something about artists that just love to make the big statement, and Ron English is about to make his by destroying a Banksy original he paid $730,000 for.
Now that’s a lot of cash but whoever said artistic expression was cheap? Vincent Van Gogh sacrificed an ear in the name of art so what’s nearly a million dollars in comparison?
Here’s the lowdown. Yahoo! reports that the Banksy artwork in question is the unknown artist’s classic Slave Labor piece.
The Scarlet Pimpernel of the graffiti world painted his statement on employment practices in the wider world on the side of a North London Poundland in Wood Green in 2012.
Slave Labor depicts some unfortunate child on his knees and diligently working on a sewing machine to mass produce Union Jack bunting.
Critics believe it was a direct attack on the London Olympics and how expensive souvenirs for the glamorous event were being manufactured in sweatshops by downtrodden wage slaves.
Like all good pieces of art, it said a lot about a lot of things, and because it’s by Banksy, it also whispers softly, “I will one day sell for a considerable chunk of cash.”
Which it now has done at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles. It was purchased last Wednesday by American artist Ron English.
When asked what his plans were for the historic piece, Ron simply replied, “My idea for this painting is to whitewash it for my good pal Banksy, I only wish I could’ve spent more money for it.
“I’m going to paint it white again, I’m done. This is a blow for street art. It shouldn’t be bought and sold.
“I’m going to paint over it and just include it in one of the walls in my house. We’re tired of people stealing our stuff off the streets and re-selling it so I’m just going to buy everything I can get my hands on and whitewash it.”
Ron has spent time with Banksy in Palestine and apparently, the two street artists are tired of people removing their art from the streets for rich art lovers to buy and lock up in their mansions.
In October of this year, no sooner had the gavel fallen on the $1.4 million sale of Banksy’s iconic Girl with a Balloon artwork at an auction house in London than it was destroyed by a shredder built into the frame.
It was a big moment and an even bigger statement, not least because it seemed to suggest that Banksy would prefer to make an artistic gesture than make a cool million.
In the wake of the grand gesture, Banksy reportedly quoted Mikhail Bakunin and declared, “The urge to destroy is also the creative urge.”
Banksy also had the last laugh because the buyer later confirmed they were going through with the sale.
Ron is also hoping to make a sizable profit from his artistic statement and declared, “Of course I’ll sell the whitewash painting for a million dollars. I’m crazy but I’m not stupid.”