On February 13, Bristol woke up to a new work of graffiti gracing its streets. Many in the English city and around the world immediately suspected its creator to be the famed street artist Banksy. Indeed, at midnight on Valentine's Day, the artist confirmed the work was his on Instagram. The work depicts a girl shooting a slingshot of flowers that explode like fireworks above her.
But the work's glory was short-lived. Within 48 hours of the piece appearing, it had been vandalized with the words "BCC WANKERS" in pink spraypaint accompanied by a heart. BCC is apparently a reference to the Bristol City Council.
This is a recurring problem for new Banksy works, which appear overnight and quickly draw huge crowds. Unfortunately, these crowds often include vandals: other graffiti artists looking to prove themselves by taking a shot at the reigning king of street art.
For now, the work is covered with plywood to protect it from other assaults.
Banksy, whose real identity is a mystery, is the world's most famous street artist. In 2018, he stunned the world by remotely shredding his work Balloon Girl as it sat on the auction block at Sotheby's.