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The British street artist Banksy is back in Los Angeles, just in time to create hype around his Oscar-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. This past week, Hollywood has been abuzz with daily reports of new Banksy-claimed street art pieces—at least seven since we last checked.
The work pictured above—titled "Livin' the Dream"—was created on a traffic-choked corner of Sunset Boulevard, just steps from the Sunset Strip. Using a billboard promoting partying in Las Vegas as its canvas, the piece features Vegasified renditions of Disney's favorite couple: Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
"Livin' the Dream" was quickly dismantled from its perch by the billboard management company CBS Outdoor, but not by request of the advertiser and Vegas restaurant operator The Light Group. The company reportedly found Banksy's appropriation of their sign "flattering" and managed to get their hands on the dismantled work. They hope to restore it to its full glory in an even more appropriate home: the Las Vegas Strip.
When rumors surfaced that the property manager of the Urban Outfitters building wanted to remove the latest creation, art fans formed a Facebook group to preserve the work. Still, it's been difficult keeping the piece in tact. In less than one week, the crayon soldier has already been painted over, tagged, swastika'd, and moustached, and his No Parking target has been stolen.
Art thieves (or the abandoned building's owner?) soon chiseled out Banksy's Charlie—also known as the "Good Grief Firestarter"—from the wall, and supposedly sold him on Ebay. Employees at the local venue The Comedy Shop tried to intervene by calling the cops. However, according to their blog, the report that "'Someone is stealing graffiti from an abandoned building' didn’t quite register with the dispatcher." It's possible that the LAPD has more pressing business to attend to.
Photo by KKrump via TwitPic
Some of Banksy's work remains unscathed so far (if not, please send us updates!). In Beverly Hills, this Banksy pooch pees a lightning bolt stream.
Photo courtesy of Banksy's website
Just south of downtown Los Angeles, Banksy brought back the crayon aesthetic to comment on the home foreclosure crisis that's crippled Southern California. A worker boards up the generic, doodle dream house of a young girl, who looks on sadly.
Photo by Dave McCreary
Is that an elephant or a trailer hanging out on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica?
Photo courtesy of Banksy's website