In April, a photograph of one of Banksy’s latest artworks appeared on his website and of course, a race to find the original piece of art began. The street art piece consists of a man and a woman ‘embracing’ while checking their mobile phones and was located on the wall of the Broad Plain Boys Youth Centre in Bristol. Just hours later, however, the piece had been removed and kept in club to ensure its safety.
The renowned graffiti artist then wrote a letter stating that the artwork is in fact his and that he wants to give his blessing for the run-down club to make money from the piece. It’s estimated that the painting alone could bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The letter was addressed to Dennis Stinchcombe and the artist commented saying that he had primarily intended for his work to be “a small visual gift for the area – but apparently a financial one would’ve been more useful.”
“I don’t normally admit to causing criminal damage, but seeing as it looks like charges won’t be brought any time soon you have my blessing to do what is right with the piece.”
In response Stinchcombe commented, “It was very surreal. You dream that it’s going to happen, you don’t think it will happen and when it does, it’s like ‘boom’ – it’s like winning on a lottery ticket, really… I was ecstatic. It was such a buzz to think ‘hang on a minute, all our troubles are over’”
Since 1984, the club has been working alongside young people however, financially, the club has suffered due to the “recent economic downturn” he said.
He continued, “Money is tight. We were getting to a stage where we could’ve run out of money if we didn’t do something drastic about it. Lo and behold, a Banksy comes along, which we never planned. It was just one of those things.”
“The artwork will stay in the museum for the moment, but the club plans to auction it so it can help as many young people in Bristol as possible.”
Stinchcombe also said that the money will probably even set up a trust, which will be a “legacy to Banksy, forever and a day and help to keep young people off the streets and out of trouble.”
It is thought that over 20,000 people have already been to visit the piece in the art gallery.
Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, said that the letter had been confirmed as authentic and that he “believed the city had done the right thing” by taking care of the piece.
Both the Mayor and Stinchcombe are rumoured to have agreed that if the artist was to “send a signal” that the street art piece should be used to benefit the club.
“Dennis said he would like it to benefit both the club and other youth projects in Bristol which would be a brilliant resolution,” said the Mayor. “Thank you Banksy!”
If you’re interested in seeing more famous works of Banksy, then why not join us on one of our Street Art Tours in London for a first-rate view of the art culture of the East End!