But although his works have appeared on walls across the world rarely has he created two in the same place. Now a Glasgow curry house believes it has been the lucky recipient of a second Banksy. And nobody knows why.
Last year, bosses at the Nakodar Grill in Dennistoun insured a rat sprayed on their restaurant by the legendary graffiti artist for £20,000.
But now another image has appeared on the wall – part of a well-known series by Banksy depicting the Mona Lisa with a rocket launcher. A frame is to be placed around the black-and-white image to protect it from the elements.
Restaurant owner Johnnie Ginda, 39, said the image appeared after the curry house’s rat image was recently mentioned on BBC Radio Scotland’s Off The Ball programme.
“Soon afterwards another great piece of art – bearing all the hallmarks of Banksy – had appeared above the previous one, ” said Ginda.
“To have one Banksy is fantastic – but two is incredible. He may have been a customer here.”
“All I can say is that it is an early Christmas present. His first work has drawn hundreds of customers here to have a look – and already we’ve had many more come for the new painting. I always said our restaurant was a work of art – now it really is. We are becoming a gallery! Why he should choose our place is a mystery.”
Scottish art expert Marcus Macleod of Braewell Galleries – who has dealt in and studied work by Banksy – said: ”It looks like the real thing. We are in the process of trying to verify it.
“It is hard to put a value on it because it is on a wall after all. But it is interesting and I don’t know what it is about this wall that has caught the artist’s eye – other than he may love curry and listens to On the Ball. I am fairly certain it is a Banksy and it could be worth five figures.”
Works attributed to Banksy in Glasgow include a monkey painted under The Arches and another monkey on Sauchiehall Street. “But this is quite a discovery and just shows there may be more to be found,” Macleod said.
Staff at the restaurant – the building was used for other purposes until two years ago – thought they had hit the jackpot when they found the previous Banksy rat on their outside wall.
A rodent carrying a paint pot and roller is one of the reclusive street artist’s trademark designs but the faded image had been hidden for years by weeds.
With the discovery made, the artwork was framed and an alarm installed but it has since deteriorated. .
International art dealers Lyon & Turnbull, which has dealt with dozens of examples of Banksy’s work, said the previous rat stencil appeared to be genuine.
Specialist Ben Hanly said then: “It looks like one of his works and could have been part of a larger work. It is an exciting discovery.”
Little is known about Banksy. However it has been reported that he is a former trainee butcher turned artist believed have been born in 1974 and raised in Bristol.
Star fans include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who were said to have paid £1 million for four pieces.
In April 2007, a then new record for Banksy’s work was set with the auction of Space Girl & Bird fetching £288,000, around 20 times the estimate, at Bonhams of London.
Two years later, The Whitehouse public house in Liverpool – which has an image of a giant rat by Banksy – sold for £114,000 at auction.
Two fans of the secretive guerrilla artist showed their devotion in 2009 when they spent thousands of pounds to restore a giant artwork called Large Graffiti Slogan, after vandals “defaced” it with spray paint.
Banksy had painted the mural in an industrial estate just outside Croydon, South London, and a team of builders cut out the three-ton section of reinforced concrete wall carrying the street art, lifted it by crane on to a lorry and took it to a secret location to be cleaned up. It depicts a punk with a mohican haircut reading an instruction booklet beside a cardboard box emblazoned with “IEAK Large Graffiti Slogan”.
Not all of Banksy’s works have survived. Last year, Melbourne City Council in Australia reported that they had inadvertently ordered private contractors to paint over the last remaining Banksy artwork in the city – of a rat descending in a parachute – adorning the wall of an old council building behind the Forum Theatre. In July this year, a Banksy image of a gorilla in a pink mask on the wall of the North Bristol Social Club, in the city’s Eastville suburb, was mistakenly painted over.
Saeed Ahmed, the building’s new owner, said he had never heard of Banksy and had the wall whitewashed. Ahmed apologised and it has now been partially restored.