Among those in the art world, waking up to find you are the owner of a new work by the secretive street artist Banksy would be a dream come true. But, according to report in the Sun, a British couple has been subjected to “a living nightmare” since Banksy painted an almost-20-foot pelican on the side of their Suffolk home.
Since Banksy adorned their home with the giant waterfowl in 2021, the homeowners, Garry and Gokean Coutts, have been plagued by vandals and forced to either pay for the bird’s protection and preservation, which would cost almost $50,000 per year. Otherwise, they could have the mural removed, which could cost up to a quarter of a million dollars.
In an interview with the Times, Mr. Coutts said “At first it was obviously incredible but as things have gone on it has become extremely stressful. I’m not sure Banksy realises the unintended consequences on homeowners. If we could turn back the clock, we would.”
Hooligans trying to paint over the mural, thieves chipping off painted sections to sell on Facebook, cracks in the wall, and county council members are just a few of the troubles the Couttses have had to deal with. After the theft, they had to hire a security guard to watch over the mural at night at their own cost.
The only way forward, the Couttses say, is to have the 22-ton mural removed, a major undertaking which over the last month has involved “reinforcing it with 12 layers of resin, fibreglass [sic] and five tonnes [sic] of steel and using a 40ft crane to take it away.”
The Couttses hope to sell the massive work in order to offset the $250,000 cost. “We are just normal people,” Mr. Coutts told the Sun, “so we’d like to sell it and make something back on it.”
In 2021, a Banksy mural depicting a young girl using a bicycle tire as a hula-hoop was removed from a brick wall in Nottingham, England, was sold for six-figures to the Brentwood, England–based Brandler Galleries.