Banksy breaks into school to paint mural
Street artist Banksy paints surprise mural on the wall of primary school in the UK after it names a school house after him.
When graffiti surfaces in a school yard overnight, it usually results in a detention or two - but when Bridge Farm primary school in Bristol in the UK, was defaced on Sunday night, it instantly shot the school to global fame.
Street artist Banksy reportedly broke into the school and left a mural on the playground wall - reportedly to say thanks for having one of the school's houses named after him.
Banksy painted the mural at Bridge Farm Primary Bristol over half term break. They recently named a house after him. pic.twitter.com/RudLj1aP3j— Jon Kay (@jonkay01) June 6, 2016
The mural, which has been authenticated by the famously anonymous artist's UK agents, Pest Control, shows a stick figure girl pushing a burning tyre with a stick, was discovered by teachers when the school returned from a half-term break.
They also discovered a framed note beside the mural, telling the students: "It's always easier to get forgiveness than permission".
The note also encouraged them to "feel free to add stuff" to the mural if they didn't like it, cheekily adding "I'm sure the teachers won't mind".
But Bridge Farm primary school's headmaster Geoff Mason has confirmed that is not going to happen, and that they have no plans to sell the work - while many of his early murals have been preserved in situ on walls around the city, there have been many sold; a mural called Kissing Coppers, originally painted on a wall in Brighton, sold two years ago for $500,000. A Bristol pub with a Banksy mural reportedly sold for twice its original estimate.
Mr Mason described the murals as "inspirational and aspirational" for the school's pupils - although BBC reported that the school's caretaker saw the piece as vandalism and wanted to remove it.
Earlier this year the school's pupils had written to the artist to tell him they had voted to name one of the school's houses after him - the other three houses are named after other slightly loftier names with connections to the city: the 15th-century Italian explorer John Cabot (he mounted three exploration voyages from Bristol), engineer Islambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed the city's famous suspension bridge, and Blackbeard, after the pirate, believed to have been born in Bristol.
While Banksy's real identity has remained a mystery since his first started exhibiting his work around 2002, it's known that he is from Bristol, where he began his freehand graffiti in the early '90s. Since 2002, his politically-charged stencil works, have appeared around the world, and his works on canvas fetch massive prices and adorn the walls of celebrities including Brad Pitt, Kate Moss and Christina Aguilera. In Australia, Banksy works have appeared around Melbourne and Sydney, although as elsewhere, many have been mistakenly painted over or removed by fans wanting to cash in.
In his only Australian interview to date, Banksy told Fairfax Media in 2010 that he doesn't mind if his works are lost to the elements or painted over.
"Graffiti isn't meant to last forever. I'd prefer someone draw a moustache and glasses on one of my pieces than encase it in Perspex," he said. "I've always been uncomfortable with the way galleries put things on a pedestal. I think art should be a two-way conversation, not a lecture from behind glass."