Banksy’s latest reindeer mural has already been vandalised.
The Christmas-themed intallation, painted on a brick wall in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, now features red-nosed reindeer – which wasn’t part of the initial artwork.
It was defaced within a matter of hours of being confirmed as a genuine Banksy by a young man seen wielding a can of red spray paint shouting: ‘Shall I tag it?’
The Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) has now been forced to employ round-the-clock security to protect the art from further vandalism.
They are also considering whether to shield the mural with perplex amid talk of thieves plotting to steal it ‘brick by brick’.
Steve Lovell, marketing manager at the Jewellery Quarter BID, said business owners ‘were obviously delighted’ when the artwork appeared.
‘It is truly an incredible and thought-provoking piece, which highlighted a genuine crisis in our city,’ he added.
‘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.
‘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 artwork was unveiled with an Instagram video featuring a homeless man having a drink before lying down on the bench as the camera pans captioned: ‘God bless Birmingham.’
Local business owners welcomed the new addition and one even claimed to have captured the secretive artist on CCTV.
‘It’s good,’ they added of the graffiti. ‘I have heard of him but didn’t know too much about him until now.
‘The area has been a bit quiet recently. Because he’s famous hopefully it will bring people to the area and they’ll come in more.
‘It’s great to have it on our doorstep and we’re really pleased that Banksy came here.’
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: ‘It’s 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.’
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