New Orleans Man Deletes Banksy Fortune with Paint Can


Earlier this month I noted that street artist/prankster Banksy, whose graffiti works (even the ones peeled from the sides of buildings) have been fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, made a swing through the city of New Orleans, leaving some fairly poetic and remarkable images in his wake.

The Times Picayune reports that one of those images, of a carefree boy swinging on a life-saving ring, has been painted over, destroying what might have been a small fortune for the owner of this damaged building.


To my surprise, while browsing through flickr, I actually found a photo of the ‘genius’ who covered it up caught in the act:


The flickr user writes: “after driving all over with no specific locations or idea of where i was going, i inadvertantly saw this one from across the street. (boy on life preserver) by the time i could turn around in traffic and get back to it, to take a picture, this dude was already DONE spraying over it with red paint! i have no idea who he is or where he came from… he turned around and saw me taking pictures of him and started yelling at me. i could see him walking back across the street to the convenience store on the other side of the intersection in my rear view mirror as i drove away…”

To check out more of Banksy’s New Orleans work, click here.

(image top – flickr user aboxcarnamedruin)
(image bottom – flickr user artbymags)


  1. soulbrotha says

    It was a stupid thing to do in general yes, but come on. What are the chances that this man even knows who Banksy is? If he is the owner, he will kick himself later when he finds out.

  2. Remy says

    Sure, why not someone explain to the man how in the world outside of Post-Katrina New Orleans, someone can turn graffiti into a lucrative art form. Maybe the image reminds him of a child he lost. Maybe he has enough on his mind without having to worry about graffiti. I hope Banksy gets offended. Just another example of the disconnect between the supposed “cultured” crowd and people still being affected by the world’s disasters.

  3. GBM says

    graffiti is supposed to get painted over by other grafitti artists or by property owners/law enforcers. c’est la vie. it makes little sense that buyers have singled out banksy as the one graffiti artist to frame and auction and declare immortal. there’s something very distasteful about it.

  4. dego says

    I have some good friends in NOLA,
    One has gone around in an attempt to find and photograph all of Banksy’s stuff after we discussed these.

    As she was running around finding them, she came across the Marching band on Claibourne Avenue but it was already in the process of being painted over by someone. (not the “grey Ghost” though…) She was talking to the guy doing the “clean-up” because he asked why she was photographing it.

    She explained to him that the guy that did it is internationally known and his stuff is collected, salvaged and sold for thousands and thousands of dollars..

    The guy looked at her with a confused expression and simply said “Well, ain’t no one offered to pay ME nothing for it…” and continued to paint it over.

    All she could think was “Man! you could have taken a Masonry saw to your wall, cut that out, sold it and STILL had enough money left over for a house after you repaired the wall…”

    Hell even half painted over it probably would have sold, as it added to the “history of the piece”.

    We both expect the trumpet player to “go missing” soon enough since its the only one found so far on an easily removable wooden facade.

  5. Daniel says

    Is the addition of new, red paint NOT art? It’s so Dada-esque! My god, it should be worth a FORTUNE now! Subversive! Rebellious! So delicious! Is a pipe splashed with red paint still not a pipe? Geesh, do you haters know NOTHING about great art????

  6. Jimmyboyo says


    With your constantly posting repub talking points, I’m not surprised you don’t get Banksy

    This particular painting is pretty self evident with the “rescue ring” (usually let down by a helicopter) being played on by a child in a devastated area. You probably though think fuck em as long as you get your tax break and those scary brown people are kept away from you.

  7. Paul R says

    Even though the guy presumably didn’t know who Banksy was, why would he think a big red blotch was more attractive than a kid on a swing? Most graffiti is simply, ugly tagging of people’s initials or nicknames. It’s a blight. But this is a painting.

    If he wanted it gone, why not use white paint? It looks worse than ever now. Idiot.

  8. Kevin says

    Maybe he resents the idea that some British guy parachutes in and paints scenes that remind everyone of a disaster they’re trying to forget, all over buildings that aren’t his, and then splits? Or maybe he’s just a stupid redneck.

  9. Thomas says

    I think the man improved upon the work. Now it is a loaded image. I’m much more interested in giving the man who painted over the Banksy a million dollars than giving it to the original artist who felt that a boy clinging to a life preserver was poignant in New Orleans. This Banksy craze looks like satire of 1980s-style rich people who would pay lots of money if Andy Warhol pissed on a canvas. This is the funniest world yet.

  10. alan says

    How is this worth anything? If it’s removed from it’s context, then it should be worth the same as if Banksy had stencilled it on a canvas in a studio. If it only has value as part of a ruin in New Orleans, then it’s hard to imagine any colletor wanting to pay anything for it.
    I think this guy probably added value by painting over it is such a clutzy manner. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the “defacer” were Banksy.

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