Yesterday, saw the emergence of banksylax.com, a website that looks strikingly similar to Banksy’s NYC homepage. A splash page reads “Better LA Than NYC,” –a play on “Better Out Than In,” the artist’s current project–and features an image that’s unmistakably Banksy. A girl, stenciled onto a brick wall in spray paint, looks up the stalk of a plant only to find a security camera on top. Underneath is a countdown, the text “December 2013,” and a hashtag: #BANKSYLAX.
Naturally, people started freaking out.
Some quick searching, however, reveals the site isn’t real. The “BanksyLAX” domain was registered by Darren Julien, proprietor of the Beverly Hills auction house Julien’s. If the name sounds familiar, it may be because Julien’s will auction off Banksy’s “Flower Girl” wall piece this December. What’s “Flower Girl?” It’s the painting at the top of BanksyLAX, ripped from the wall of an LA gas station last year.
So no, Banksy is not planning an L.A. stop to follow up his NYC residency; the site and accompanying hashtag are part of a guerilla campaign to promote Julien’s auction. Clever, but it’s tough to imagine Banksy fans will respond with anything other than resentment when they learn they’ve been duped, especially by a guy who’s selling a mural ripped from a wall.