Artist Who Painted Over Banksy Mural Pleads Guilty on Felony Charges

Banksy, Girl on Swing. Photo: Courtesy Flickr user Pi.

Banksy, Girl on Swing. Photo: Courtesy Flickr user Pi.

Los Angeles property owners who welcome Banksy’s unsolicited graffiti art on their buildings have been markedly less appreciative of work by David William Noll. The Modesto artist, responsible for vandalizing two area Banksy works, has pleaded guilty on two felony counts, reports Curbed Los Angeles.

Although Banksy started out as an underground, antiestablishment street artist, his work has gained international prestige, offering considerable cachet for real estate owners lucky enough to find their property has become a canvas for the world’s most famous graffiti artist.

While a Banksy will generally increase property values (by $650,000, according to one of the two owners in the case at hand), Noll’s reimagining of Peeing Dog and Girl on Swing, in which he recorded himself painting over the two works, landed him in a Los Angeles courtroom. (Noll’s YouTube videos documenting his acts, which helped the police track him down, have since been removed.) For his art/crimes, Noll will serve 3 years’ probation and 60 days community labor. He also is subject to a restraining order of sorts, and must not come within a hundred yards of Banksy paintings.

Although the so-called art by both men was unsolicited, according to Los Angeles police, a graffiti vandal will only be prosecuted if the property owner complains. Far from complaining, property owners should probably be thanking Banksy, considering the number of the artist’s works that have been removed and sold for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

Fine Art Auctions Miami sold Kissing Coppers for $575,000 at auction earlier this year, while Detroit’s 555 Gallery recently came under fire for announcing plans to sell a Banksy mural they had previously saved from a condemned Detroit factory. In New Orleans, only vigilance from local community members prevents would-be thieves from successfully stealing Girl With Umbrella.