36-year-old California artist David William Noll pleaded guilty this Monday after defacing two Park City murals in 2013, believed to be created by British graffiti artist and pseudonym Banksy.The resurfacing of Noll’s hearing this coming November has stirred critics globally, obscuring the line between vandalism and, well, vandalism.
In case there was any misconceptions about Banksy and his work, according to the District Attorney (DA) ‘the only way they will prosecute for vandalism is if the property owner complains.’ In 2008, a work by Banksy called Keep It Spotless (Defaced Hirst) auctioned for a huge $1,870,000. Put two and two together, people actually want Banksy to deface their property with the street art, since the financial and artistic gain can be immense. Poor ol’ Noll going out of his way to ruin expensive property. It’s needless to say it isn’t cool to graffiti over other people’s work… until you get paid in the truck loads to do it. Noll is faced with two options: do jail time or pay a large $13,000 in restoration to the street art. “He said it was graffiti’ reported Summit County attorney David Brickey reviewing Noll’s Youtube Videos, ‘and he was just marking it up again.’
Is the treatment of Noll harsh? Should precious Banksy just shrug it off and make more stencils? Will vandalism always go side by side with street art? And, could a lawsuit be any more self-contradictive than Banksy suing somebody for graffitiing? You decide.