Famous graffiti artist Banksy may be painting in SF

April 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A controversial British graffiti artist appears to have left his mark on San Francisco. He's known around the world simply as Banksy. And his fans are thrilled to see what they believe is his work here, but city officials aren't too sure the art can stay.

People are taking pictures of something the city spends $20 million a year trying to get rid of: graffiti. But admirers say this street art -- is different.

"It's pretty amazing just to know he was here doing this just a few days ago and now I'm here looking at it myself," Josh Schielie of San Francisco.

He is known as Banksy -- an elusive artist who shows up in a city -- and spray paints a stenciled image onto buildings, along with some graffiti style writing. Six examples of his work have been spotted around San Francisco since Wednesday. His fans couldn't be happier.

"He's like the Andy Warhol of our generation. He's actually I think bigger since he's so international," said Michael Cuffe of Warholian.com.

Michael Cuffe first broke the news of the installations on his blog Warholian.com and even though it's impossible to know for sure -- Cuffe is declaring these are the works of Banksy.

"You have a lot of celebrities like Brad and Angelina collecting Banksy. He just has such an international following," said Cuffe.

Fans say part of the fun is finding the art. For some of the pieces - you have to look up -- like one at 9th and Howard. His work is known for poking fun at political or social issues - and taking advantage of the location. Some fans stood on the street and discussed the images -- as if they were visiting a museum.

"It's really cool that he can do something like this and bring it across sea and make people think because it provokes a thought," said Kevin Leal of San Francisco.

It provokes more than that. Some British officials have called it glorified vandalism. In San Francisco -- the Department of Public Works will be meeting with the building owners to make sure they approved the graffiti.

"I would tell Banksy fans to make sure Banksy gets permission before he touches any property in San Francisco or we'll be right behind him- painting it out," said Mohammed Neru of SF's Department of Public Works.

That has happened in other cities -- which is why fans are quickly trying to see all of his work - before it's gone.


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