On his walk into our offices this morning Inked staffer Brian Toynes spotted a Banksy piece three blocks from our doors. He alerted the staff and we cleared out en masse to check out the art. We’ve seen his pieces in books, magazines and film and on blogs, but to encounter his cheeky stencil work close-up is a wholly different experience. Firstly it’s like seeing the Mona Lisa or even a celebrity in-person for the first time—of which the latter happens daily in Manhattan—as it is both jarring and you glean a new perspective once someone is out of the 55-square-inch HD box. This week I’ve encountered Christina Hendricks (dammmn), David Wells (taller than I thought), and Marc Murphy (rail thin). Feet from my eyes, the Bansky piece wasn’t as clean as it is on screen. The dog’s legs weren’t crisp and some of the shading inside the animal and fire hydrant were inconsistent.
What does this mean?
Were the photos I’ve previously seen re-touched?
Was Banksy rushed while painting illegally in the City that Never Sleeps?
Was this even a Banksy piece?
The last question echoed in my dome. How do we know this was done by the hand of a guy who only a few know the identity of (like Batman)? What we do (sort of) know is that Banksy is supposed to be stenciling around Gotham this month. New York City graffiti painters/writers/taggers are notorious for protecting their turf/cement so many have surmised that his pieces will be ephemeral, that they will be covered up by local artists swiftly. But what if the the NYC graffiti community decided to put up their own Banksy-type pieces to fuck with the artist?
As I’m processing this information, a photographer from the New York Post is snapping away at a guy walking his dog near the piece. How does this reporter know it is a Banksy? Banksy could be anywhere, he could be one of the guys taking cellphone photos of this piece. He could be the guy with the dog. Was that even David Wells the other day?