Hoteliers were left stunned today when they awoke to find a genuine BANKSY artwork on the side of their building – worth a staggering £150,000.
The 8ft high mural of a young boy drawing a robot appeared overnight at the Grosvenor Hotel in Torquay, Devon.
Controversial street artist Banksy – whose art has been snapped up by celebrities including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Christina Aguilera – validates the piece on his own website.
Banksy made his name with his trademark stencil-style ‘guerrilla’ art in public spaces and his works have sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It’s the second time the artist has been in the news in as many weeks after he produced the opening credits for an episode of The Simpsons.
Manager Joleen Layman discovered the mural when she arrived for work and plans were now in place to preserve it.
She said: ”It appeared overnight. I drove into work and I thought ”what’s that?” I paid a bit more attention to it and saw it was really good quality.
”My other half is from Bristol so I have heard of Banksy but I’m not that familiar with his work. The chefs and other people who work at the hotel were wondering if it was him.
”It’s already cause a stir. It will be boarded up and covered in perspex so that it will stay protected.”
Graffiti expert and Banksy fan Irene Hall visited the hotel and confirmed that the image is the genuine article.
She said: ”He doesn’t verbally confirm it, but he puts photographs of the images on the official website and the one from the Grosvenor is on there. It’s absolutely beautiful.”
The image appeared after the Street Art Jam session, an international graffiti and music event, held in nearby Paignton.
Mark Wilkins, chairman of the Devon Music Collective, confirmed there were rumours of the artist being at the event.
He said: ”We didn’t know he was there but we had a suspicion he might be because a couple of the guys from a crew in Birmingham said he was. But they wouldn’t say who he was.
”I think his artwork is great for Torbay. I’m very pleased for the Grosvenor Hotel. It’s estimated to have increased their hotel value by £150,000.”