Banksy's latest artwork destroyed for 'vandalism' even though it could be worth millions

Banksy has once again stirred up controversy with a daring piece of street art, this time spray-painting the inside of a London tube carriage.

The Bristol artist shared a video of himself disguised as a cleaner creating the artwork which depicts his signature rats wearing face masks.

The paintings have already been removed from the Circle Line train for violating the Transport for London's vandalism policy.

A TFL spokesperson said that the artwork was removed because of their "strict anti-graffiti policy", but invited Banksy to recreate it at a "suitable location".

The artwork, which depicts a rat sneezing across a window, also draws on lyrics from Chumbawamba's 'Tubthumping' with "I get locked down but I get up again" painted across the carriage doors.

Predictably, Banksy's decision to use a tube carriage as his canvas sparked anger online and accusations of criminal damage.

But other people praised the mask-themed mural as a work of "genius".

Some even questioned why Transport for London would destroy the artwork which could be worth "millions".

Banksy's most expensive piece of art, 'Devolved Parliament', sold for $12 million at auction last year.

But his smaller artworks routinely make hundreds of thousands of pounds if sold.

His painting 'Girl with Balloon' sold for over one million pounds at Sotheby's in 2018, and only increased in value when it promptly shredded itself.

Banksy's latest paintings aren't the first to sport face masks.

In April, a mask was added to his artwork 'Girl with a Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol.

It is unclear who added the mask to the painting, which Banksy completed in 2014.

Whether you love or hate Banksy, and whether you consider his paintings the work of an artistic genius or vandalism, his work is certainly extremely lucrative.

But perhaps having it scrubbed away (something the graffiti artist is certainly no stranger to) is more in line with his anti-establishment art style than having it sold for millions in an auction house, anyway.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)