The elusive British street artist known as Banksy certainly knows how to get people talking about his work and furthered the conversation Tuesday with a new piece in the Melrose section of the Bronx. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Why was a wall on 153rd Street and Elton Avenue in the Bronx getting people so excited on Tuesday? Because Banksy was there.
"Of course you know, I like street art, graffiti and all this, so I'm all for him," said Jesus "Papaoleto" Melendez, a local poet.
It's one of nearly two dozen pieces the mysterious street artist has done during a planned month-long outdoor installation called "Better Out than In." Along the way he left his mark in places like the Upper West Side, Red Hook, and under the High Line in Chelsea.
The latest Bronx work features a butler bringing a boy spray paint cans, possibly so he can do his own street art. Beside it are the words "Ghetto 4 Life." The choice of words aggravated some including the borough president who has spearheaded efforts to re-brand the Bronx. But folks who spoke with NY1 at the exhibit didn't seem offended.
"Who is this European dude from Europe throwing up Ghetto in the Bronx? Who is this guy? But guess what? He is creating a buzz hence why I am talking to you," said Andre Nicholas, a Banksy fan.
"It's also bringing people who maybe never came to the so-called ghetto to see a work of art," said Danielle Jennings, another Banksy fan.
Banksy's stay in New York City has received worldwide media attention, and locally, Gothamist.com in Brooklyn has been providing extensive coverage.
"There are a lot of very enthusiastic graffiti fans every day trying find his pieces and look at them, talk about them, take pictures of them, and put them online," said Gothamist Publisher Jake Dobkin.
Dobkin noted that Banksy has been to town before, but never has done a piece a day for a month. The longtime street art fan admits not everyone is on board.
"Not everyone enjoys Graffiti. A lot of people especially people in the government, the police, you know. They think it's vandalism and would like to see it all erased. And actually a lot of Banksy's pieces are about the reaction against graffiti, so that's kind of interesting," Dobkin said.
For more on the elusive artist's work this month, check out banksyny.com.