A helpful schoolboy on a train was handed a ‘Banksy’ by a passenger. Ben Azarya was handed the signed copy of an iconic print which he was told would be worth about £20,000 after the schoolboy helped a stranger pick up his paints after they fell from his bag.
The mysterious individual then signed a print of a flower thrower, with a distinctive autograph and gave it to the 14-year-old school boy telling him to ‘have a good life’. At the time of the chance encounter Ben had no idea who Banksy was until he got home and looked for the elusive street artist on the internet.
Ben said: “He was on the phone for most of the time talking to someone called AK47. He opened his rucksack and had a gas mask and spray paints inside. He got out a piece of paper and had colours marked on it of what he had been trying out and he dropped his colours. I picked them up for him and after that he started signing it in weird letters and numbers. He said ‘do you know who Robin Banks is?’.”
Ben continued “I said no and he said ‘this will be worth about £20,000 – have a good life, brother’.”
Ben went on to describe his generous benefactor as: ‘White, in his late 40s. He was wearing scruffy clothes and he had a black, fluffy hat which looked really old.
The infamous artist’s satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique. His works are of political and social commentary and have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.
Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. The artist has gone on to worldwide acclaim, many individuals, both amateur and professional, clamour to remove his art for attempted sale – as the artist’s work often raise lucrative sums at auction.
Last year a youth club in Bristol was saved by the sale of a Banksy artwork which sold to a private collector for enough cash to float the institution for the next few years. ‘Mobile Lovers’, which was moved from a doorway outside the club to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery for safekeeping was handed over to a philanthropist who paid up to £430,000 for the stencil on plywood.