Ron English, an American artist, bought a Banksy last week at an auction in Los Angeles, paying $730,000 (£561,000) for the piece. The artwork, Slave Labour, was originally painted on the wall of a North London Poundland and depicts a child kneeling at a sewing machine, sewing together a string of Union Jack bunting; it’s thought to be a criticism of the production of souvenirs for the London Olympics in 2012.
So why is the sale worth talking about? Well, the artwork wasn’t destroyed by Banksy himself after the sale, unlike his Girl With Balloon, which shredded itself when it was sold at Sotheby’s last month. Instead, English himself is planning his own protest, which involves whitewashing Banksy’s piece.
“I’m going to paint it white again, I’m done,” English says. “This is a blow for street art. It shouldn’t be bought and sold. I’m going to paint over it and just include it in one of the walls in my house.”
The American artist isn’t only planning on taking his “good pal” Banksy’s work off the market, though; he’s ready to destroy any street art he can get his hands on. “We’re tired of people stealing our stuff off the streets and re-selling it,” he explains, “so I’m just going to buy everything I can get my hands on and whitewash it.”