Banksy's latest mural is vandalised as artist's reindeer get red noses

Banksy’s latest mural is vandalised: Artist’s festive reindeer are daubed with red noses, days after he painted them on Birmingham wall

  • Bright red noses have been sprayed onto Banksy’s new mural of two reindeer
  • 24 hour security was employed overnight in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter
  • A young man reportedly asked ‘shall I tag it?’ before vandalising the artwork 
  • CCTV footage even appears to allegedly capture Banksy working on the mural

A new Banksy mural has already been defaced just hours after it appeared on a wall in Birmingham, sparking anger among art fans.

Bright red noses have been sprayed on two reindeer by a vandal after the world-famous artist unveiled his latest artwork in the Jewellery Quarter on Monday.

The festive-themed painting had appeared overnight depicting two reindeer pulling a bench as a sleigh in a bid to highlight the homelessness problem across Britain. 

Bright red noses were sprayed onto the two reindeer just hours after it appeared on a wall in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter on Monday

But within hours of the work being confirmed as a genuine Banksy, a young man in a hoodie was spotted at the scene with a can of red paint.

He reportedly asked onlookers ‘Shall I tag it?’ before ignoring the crowds pleas not to and giving the reindeer a Rudolph-style makeover.

It meant the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) was forced to employ 24 hour security overnight to protect the art from further vandalism.

They are now considering covering the mural in a perspex glass after their was ‘talk of thieves stealing it brick by brick.’ 

Steve Lovell, marketing manager at the Jewellery Quarter BID, said: ‘When we learned a Banksy had appeared, we were obviously delighted.

‘It is truly an incredible and thought-provoking piece, which highlighted a genuine crisis in our city. 

‘But we were astounded to hear it had been defaced so soon after appearing, it was only a matter of hours. 

‘A young guy just jumped over the barriers and sprayed two noses on it, which is inaccurate to start with as only Rudolph has a red nose. 

A council worker (above) stands guard after the act of vandalism. 24 hour security was also employed overnight in the Jewellery Quarter to protect the new artwork

Metal barriers were erected around the artwork by West Midlands Police as a matter of ‘crowd control’ to stop people sitting on the bench

Steve Lovell, marketing manager at the Jewellery Quarter BID, said he was ‘astounded’ to hear the mural had been defaced so soon after appearing on the wall

‘He was asking the crowds whether he should do it and people were begging him saying ‘please don’t do it, please don’t do it.’ We were shocked and disgusted and one of our executives tried to clean it off, but to no avail.

‘She stayed there until quite late into the evening before he could get security to watch it overnight. They were still there this morning when I arrived for work.

‘We are now considering how to protect it as there was even talk of thieves coming and stealing it brick by brick. Its a railway bridge so that would be extremely dangerous.

‘But Banksy has himself admitted his work gets defaced, it is street art at the end of the day. However, we still want to preserve it.

‘There is so much footfall past the painting so we want to protect it the best we can because we are honoured to have a Banksy here in the city.’

The vandalism was also slammed by disgusted art fans and Brummies on social media after the man, believed be aged in his mid 20s, struck at around 5pm on Monday.

One Twitter user wrote: ‘That’s why we can’t have nice things in Brum…’

The artwork shows a bench being pulled along in a reindeer sleigh. One man claims to have seen two workmen early on Friday morning working on the wall, but thought they were from the council

A commuter who passed by on her way to work on Friday morning claims she saw a man setting up close to the wall. CCTV footage allegedly shows Banksy working, circled above

After the video was posted, excited fans flocked to the site outside the Jewellery Quarter train station to take photos. Two women are pictured sitting on the bench while a man takes a photo on his phone

Another said: ‘Doesn’t surprise me… always someone who wants to ruin something special.’

A third added: ‘The mentality of some is very sad. Very thought provoking, message… Look at the response it got with people donating food to the homeless.’

But a fourth speculated: ‘You sure it wasn’t a Banksy Stunt…?’

The Bristol artist had posted a video on Instagram of a homeless man named Ryan lying on the bench and wrote: ‘God bless Birmingham.

‘In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.’

The footage shows a homeless man named Ryan having a drink before lying down on the bench, as the camera pans out.

It continues: ‘In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.’ 

After the video was posted, excited fans flocked to the site outside the Jewellery Quarter train station to take photos.

But after several hours, West Midlands Police were forced to erect metal barriers as a matter of ‘crowd control’ to stop people sitting on the bench.  

A spokeswoman for the force previously said: ‘We’ve been called just to monitor the situation due to the number of people heading down there.

‘We are just keeping an eye on the situation. It’s more of a crowd control matter.’

Laura Matts, 32, an officer worker, from Kings Heath, Birmingham, was one of those lucky enough to get a picture before the barriers were erected.

She said: ‘Its so exciting to have a Banksy here in the city. I was appalled to hear it was defaced so soon and it sums up the mentality of some people here in Brum.’  

A commuter who passed by on her way to work on Friday morning claims she saw a man setting up close to the wall.

She said: ‘It was around 7 o’clock on Friday morning when I got off the bus and saw a man giving a few snacks to a homeless man who was sitting on the bench.

‘I wouldn’t have thought it was Banksy, I just thought it was someone helping out the homeless.’

The reindeer mural is designed to draw attention to homelessness. A video posted on Banksy’s Instagram page said: ‘God bless Birmingham’

After several hours, West Midlands Police were forced to erect metal barriers as a matter of ‘crowd control’ to stop people sitting on the bench. People are pictured taking photos, above

Jeweller Martin Clarke claims to have seen two workmen early on Friday morning working on the wall, which is directly outside his shop.

He said: ‘I saw a small tent with a couple lads in high-vis vests early in the morning on Friday. I thought they were from the council and were just doing a bit of upkeep.

‘About half six I looked out the window and the tent had gone as had the lads. Then I saw it.

‘I thought it was great. We weren’t sure what it was at first or who did it but we had a good idea.’

Michael Knowles added that the new mural will be a welcome boost to the area.

He said: ‘I think it’s absolutely wonderful for the Jewellery Quarter. It’s incredible. When I saw it I was convinced it was a Banksy.’

Phil Simpkin also said the mural will give local businesses a helping hand ahead of the festive period.

She said: ‘It’s fantastic for the area and a big boost. Hopefully more people will come to the Jewellery Quarter to see the mural.’   

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