A new mural that cropped up overnight in Bristol, England, is being hailed as the “Valentine’s Day Banksy”—though the artist himself, who often quickly takes credit for his work on social media, has yet to confirm its authenticity.
Fans are already queuing up to take selfies with the artwork, which shows a young girl holding a slingshot toward the sky with an explosion of bright red flowers arced above her.
Residents of the Barton Hill area in the city, which is Banksy’s hometown, seem thrilled at the prospect of having been visited by the undercover artist.
Local council member Afzal Shah, told the BBC it could “potentially attract great tourism and interest, which will be welcomed by local residents, community groups, and, of course, local businesses.”
“We are Bristol born and bred, and it’s just so exciting,” Kelly Woodruff, an office manager who co-owns the building that was painted, told the Guardian. She added: “I just kept, like, squealing and I’ve not stopped smiling all day.”
Things could get complicated, though, if Banksy confirms the work is his. “If so, we need to protect it as soon as possible, though I am not quite sure how to do that,” she told the BBC. The work has since been covered with Plexiglas.
Security often becomes a headache for newly minted owners of Banksy works.
Last summer, after a work by the artist appeared in the Welsh town of Port Talbot, more than 20,000 visitors flocked to see the mural in only three weeks, prompting owner Michael Lewis to invest in fencing and guards.
Lewis later told the Telegraph: “I don’t think I’ll miss it.”
Woodruff may soon find herself in a similar position. “We’ve never been in this situation, so any advice is welcome,” she told the Guardian.
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