New York – Banksy is currently taking up a one-month “residence” in New York City, and his fans have got his back while he’s here.
A mural painted by the British graffiti artist was vandalized less than an hour after it was unveiled, causing three of Banksy’s fans to intervene and fight the vandal off.
Banksy unveiled the mural Thursday afternoon, a pair of geishas on a “bridge” painted in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As photographers snapped pictures of the mural, a vandal walked up and started covering the piece with black spray paint.
The fans fought the vandal off, but before he could escape, two man grabbed him. The building’s own superintendent pinned the man to the ground and called the police.
Still, he managed to escape before police arrived. Two men who had taken photos of the piece attempted to restore it by carefully wiping away the spray paint marks with rubbing alcohol.
“He’s a fine artist, and his stuff should be treated as fine art,” one bystander told the New York Daily News.
“The fact that it was defaced within an hour – that’s unfair. I think it’s my duty to restore so everyone else can enjoy it the same way I did.”
Vandalism of Banksy’s work has become common place in the 17 days he has been in New York. Some theories suggest that the so-called “taggers” painting over his murals are rival graffiti artists who feel as though Banksy is invading their space. Others seem simply content to vandalize the art pieces for the sake of mischief.
Though graffiti is an unwanted annoyance in most cases, building owners have actually cut out the sections of wall painted on by Banksy in order to sell it later. His pieces often go for tens of thousands of dollars.