As Banksy tours New York City, locals are charging for looks at his artwork

Jay Busbee
Yahoo News

The legendarily sly street artist Banksy has taken his talents to New York City, and the locals are seeing an opportunity to make a profit.


Banksy, a graffiti artist originally hailing from Great Britain, uses city walls as his canvas, creating works of art that intrigue, inspire and occasionally infuriate. He’s in the midst of a month-long “residency” in New York, with new art popping up every day.
In one location, some of the neighborhood residents decided to cash in on their brief notoriety. Banksy had stenciled a beaver standing next to a signpost that resembled a downed tree. Local profit-minded entrepreneurs – the New York Post simply calls them “jerks” – hid the stencil behind cardboard, charging passersby $20 for a glance and a cell-phone snap.
Banksy has built a reputation over the course of two decades as a political activist, with his provocative artwork appearing all over the planet, sometimes permanently, sometimes only long enough for someone to paint over it. It’s hard to think of a way to twist Banksy’s art more obscenely than hiding it behind cardboard and charging for it; even the wannabes who tag onto his art or carve it out of the wall entirely are motivated by something more than simple greed. But hey, this is New York, and they have their own way of doing business. Cash only.
It’s also worth noting that some New Yorkers believe they actually caught sight of the cagey artist when one of his exhibits went a bit haywire last Saturday. For more about Banksy’s New York odyssey, entitled “Better Out Than In,” including helpful audio commentary on his work as it pops up, visit his website.

Below are some images of Banksy's work during his current tour.

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Contact Jay Busbee at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.