Banksy Confirms He Created “Spies” Artwork in Cheltenham

Banksy, Spy Booth. Photo: Jules Annan/Barcroft Media

Banksy has finally beefed up his previously sparse website with a host of categories showing new and older works (including both street art and art confined to canvases) and a Q&A section that answers some recent issues. Banksy confirmed the already widely suspected notion that he created the “spies” artwork that appeared in April in Cheltenham, showing three trench-coat clad men with hats and sunglasses conducting surveillance around a telephone booth. Cheltenham is home to GHCQ, the UK’s surveillance network, which was recently embroiled in the NSA scandal over information gathering that was unveiled by Edward Snowden.

This appears on the Q+A section of the site:

Did you paint the spies in Cheltenham?


The section also includes a question about Sotheby’s recently opened unauthorized retrospective of Banksy works in London, organized in connection with the street artist’s longtime dealer Steve Lazarides. Sotheby’s, which opened the show this past Friday under its S2 private selling division, is featuring some works from Lazarides’ personal collection. There are 70 in all, ranging from the beginning of the street artist’s career in Bristol in the mid-1990s, to 2009—the year after he and Lazarides went their separate ways.

Though it’s not clear who is posing the questions, the section includes this one: “What’s the deal with Sotheby’s?”

To which Banksy answers: “As a kid I always dreamed of growing up to be a character in Robin Hood. I never realised I’d end up playing one of the gold coins.”

Asked separate questions about what’s the best thing about street art and the worst thing about street art, Banksy’s has the same answer: “Having to make your mistakes in public.”

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