Guard hired to protect Banksy works
Published 08/09/2010 | 13:03
Store bosses have ramped up security after one of Britain's most bankable artists secretly installed two original artworks in a shop.
Graffiti artist Banksy placed the works - a painting on a canvas and another stencilled on a rusty oil can - in a branch of HMV in London's Oxford Street earlier this week.
Staff had been unaware the artist - whose works sell for tens of thousands of pounds and have been collected by Angelina Jolie and Kate Moss - was leaving his creations. Instead, they had thought a window display of posters were to be placed in the shop to plug a DVD release of Banksy's film Exit Through The Gift Shop.
The 8ft by 4ft canvas features a baseball-capped child praying in front of a paint-daubed stained glass window. It appeared overnight and was found by staff on Monday morning after they allowed Banksy's team into the store to prepare the display themselves.
Spray cans and brushes were left close by, leading staff to believe the image may have been prepared on-site.
The work - plus the painted drum which had a brick placed upon it - have already begun attracting crowds.
And now a security officer has been hired to stand guard close to the window to prevent anything happening to the works.
At a branch in Bristol - often thought to be the hometown of the artist who hides his identity - another image showing a rat's head underneath the film's title has appeared, together with an old metal bin filled with DVD copies.
HMV's head of display Mark Robertson said: "We knew a representative was meant to be coming in overnight to install a large poster display for the DVD of Exit Through The Gift Shop in readiness for its release on Monday, but we certainly did not expect to find a full-blown Banksy waiting for us when the shutter went up in the morning."