Banksy graffiti lands in LA ahead of Oscars

Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:05pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Street artist Banksy's first film "Exit Through the Gift Shop" is up for an Oscar -- and it seems the subversive Briton may be waging an unorthodox awards campaign on the walls and billboards of Los Angeles.

Several examples of graffiti bearing the hallmarks of Banksy's style and humor have turned up in areas of the city in recent days, including a Charlie Brown figure apparently bent on arson, and a cocktail-swigging Mickey Mouse.

The Mickey Mouse graffiti, first spotted on Wednesday, featured a lascivious Mickey grabbing the breast of a model and appears on a billboard opposite the Directors Guild of America offices near Hollywood's Sunset Strip. The billboard was taken down late on Wednesday.

Other pieces noted by bloggers and graffiti artists in recent days include a giant Oscar-like gold figure wearing a hoodie and standing on a red carpet being guarded by "Star Wars" style troopers, and a young boy brandishing a machine gun loaded with colorful crayons.

Representatives of the elusive artist, whose identity is unknown in public, could not immediately be reached for comment. Banksy is thought to be based in the southwestern English city of Bristol. He first drew attention in the early 1990s, and his street art pieces now sell for huge sums.

"Exit Through the Gift Shop" -- billed as "the world's first Street Art disaster movie" -- premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and at that time, Banksy hit Park City, Utah, where the festival is held, to paint up the streets.

The movie, which looks not just at Banksy's work but how he has inspired numerous others in cities around the world, was nominated last month for a best documentary Oscar.

The Oscars, which are the world's top film awards, will be handed out at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb 27.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

 
<p>An artwork painted on a billboard is seen in Los Angeles February 16, 2011. Street artist Banksy's first film "Exit Through the Gift Shop" is up for an Oscar -- and it seems the subversive Briton may be waging an unorthodox award campaign on the walls and billboards of Los Angeles. Several examples of graffiti bearing the hallmarks of Banksy's style and humor have turned up in areas of the city in recent days, including a Charlie Brown figure apparently bent on arson, and a cocktail-swigging Mickey Mouse. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>