Banksy Surprises His Hometown With a Delightful Valentine’s Day-Themed Mural

The building's owners began securing it even before the artist claimed authorship.

A new mural that may be a genuine Banksy appeared in Bristol. Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Banksy would like to wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day. The artist has created a new mural in Bristol, England, that was hailed as the “Valentine’s Day Banksy” even before the artist took credit for the work on his Instagram Thursday evening.

Fans almost immediately began lining up to take selfies with the artwork, which shows a young girl holding a slingshot toward the sky with an explosion of bright red flowers arced above her.

Residents of the Barton Hill area in the city, which is Banksy’s hometown, were thrilled at the prospect of having been visited by the undercover artist.

Local council member Afzal Shah, told the BBC it could “potentially attract great tourism and interest, which will be welcomed by local residents, community groups, and, of course, local businesses.”

“We are Bristol born and bred, and it’s just so exciting,” Kelly Woodruff, an office manager who co-owns the building that was painted, told the Guardian. She added: “I just kept, like, squealing and I’ve not stopped smiling all day.”

Even before the artist confirmed the work was his, the building’s owner opted to cover the mural with protective Plexiglass. Now that it’s official, security may become a headache.

Last summer, after a work by the artist appeared in the Welsh town of Port Talbot, more than 20,000 visitors flocked to see the mural in only three weeks, prompting owner Michael Lewis to invest in fencing and guards.

He was so distressed at his newfound responsibility that he opted to sell the work to Banksy collector John Brandler (who, for the record, immediately identified the new work in Bristol as real).

Lewis later told the Telegraph: “I don’t think I’ll miss it.”

Woodruff has now found herself in a similar position. “We’ve never been in this situation, so any advice is welcome,” she told the Guardian.

Note: This post has been updated to reflect that Banksy has officially taken credit for the mural. 

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