A new Banksy artwork in the Welsh town of Port Talbot has been sold privately for a six-figure sum.
The artist’s work, ‘Season’s Greetings’, has been bought by Essex-based gallery owner John Brandler, who said he will keep the graffiti in the Welsh town for a minimum of two to three years.
Ian Lewis, a steelworker who found the artwork on the side of his garage one week before Christmas last year, said the sale was “a weight off my shoulders”.
He told the BBC that the whole experience had been “life changing”.
“I think the town has fallen in love with it, I think everybody loves it and it would have been a shame for it to move from the area.
“There were lots of offers, lots of options of what people wanted to do with it. There were art collectors, dealers, people who wanted to take it away basically.”
Brandler said the piece, which he paid more than £100,000 for, is “where it belongs” and added that it could be a boon for other tourist-based opportunities in the town. Volunteers estimate that more than 20,000 people have visited the Banksy since December.
“I have other pieces by Banksy and, depending what is discussed with the local council and the Welsh Government, I could have half a dozen Banksys on display in the town.
“Let’s take it and move it into the middle of the town where the public can see it without anybody stopping them”, he said.
Brandler also applauded Lewis for accepting a lower offer for the work in order to keep it in Port Talbot.
“Ian was amazing not going for the highest price to keep it in the community,” Brandler said. “I think an awful lot of people would have taken the money and run, but he wasn’t selfish and he deserves recognition for that.”
Meanwhile, a graffiti depiction of a rat spotted at a monorail station in Tokyo, Japan, is thought to be another Banksy work.
It it similar to one of his other paintings, ‘Umbrella rat’, which pictures a rodent parachuting with an umbrella.
あのバンクシーの作品かもしれないカワイイねずみの絵が都内にありました！ 東京への贈り物かも？ カバンを持っているようです。 pic.twitter.com/aPBVAq3GG3
— 小池百合子 (@ecoyuri) January 17, 2019
Local officials say they have been aware of the piece for some time, however it’s not clear when the work was painted.