New York, NY: While the notorious street artist Banksy may not be setting up shop on a curb in Manhattan again, there was a surge of street artists more than willing to take his place this week. Most were even willing to be mistaken for Bansky himself in the hopes of selling their work for at least 10 times their asking price. Or even just their original asking price.
“When an enigmatic artist whose features are shrouded in mystery comes to town in order create art, there’s really only one thing any self-respecting, enterprising New Yorker can do,” stated local street vendor Maurice DeLocca. “Get on that gravy train and milk it for all it’s worth.”
Bansky, the pseudonym for a mysterious, England-based artist and political activist who may or may not be a collective of people or even a talking panda bear, has allegedly taken up residence in the New York metropolitan area for the month of October in order to spread his artistic vision through the 5 boroughs. Public exhibits have, so far, included graffiti manipulation, street stencils, rolling box-trucks with gardens in the back, and cattle trucks transporting stuffed animals.
One artistic stunt that Banksy pulled off was the sale of original, signed Bansky pieces for $60 each at what looked to be an ordinary street vendor table. The estimated auction price for such pieces is expected to be over $10,000 each.
Still, even the retail price tag of the pieces were enough to get many New York vendors to get into the action. “When I heard street art was being sold at $60 a pop, I bought up some stencils at Target and got to painting,” explained another street vendor, known as Anthony D. When asked if he thought his quick stencils looked anything like the work of Banksy, Anthony D. exclaimed, “Who?”
While most artists see the vendors trying to ride Banksy’s spray trails as contemptible, DeLocca defended his actions.
“Look at it this way. Street sales is life. Art imitates life. So imitating art imitating life is art, right? Or is that life? I always get that step confused,” DeLocca mused.