Homeowner's delight as mural that appeared on his wall overnight is confirmed as a genuine Banksy adding thousands to house's valueby Lara Keay For Mailonline
- Residents in Barton Hill, Bristol, saw it on side of rented property yesterday
- Shows a young girl firing a slingshot of flowers, possibly linked to February 14th
- House rented out but owned by Edwin Simons who had 67th birthday same day
- Banksy, whose identity has never been revealed, does his work at night in secret
A homeowner woke up on his 67th birthday to discover the mysterious graffiti artist Banksy had sprayed a new masterpiece on the side of his house.
Residents in the Barton Hill area of Bristol were beside themselves when they awoke to find an image of a little girl firing a catapult of red flowers daubed on the property on Thursday morning.
Although it had all the hallmarks of the Bristol-based artist, he does his work at night in secret so no one knows who he really is, so they couldn't be sure.
But the property owner, Edwin Simons, was elated when Banksy confirmed it was his work by posting an image of his rental home on Instagram.
The artwork's appearance coincided with his 67th birthday yesterday and could add thousands to the value of the house, which he rents out.
He said: 'I'm shocked, absolutely shocked. How do we protect it? That's all there is in my mind. I don't want it vandalised.
The property is currently valued at around £235,000 but Mr Simons says he does not care about the money.
He said: 'The price [of the house] doesn't come into it for me - it's just brightened my day.
'Money don't not mean anything to me, it really doesn't - but the artwork is just brilliant. '
'It's a good birthday present. It's brought me out of the dumps.'
Banksy confirmed he was behind the Valentine's Day-themed artwork in the early hours of Friday.
Mr Simons's daughter, Kelly Woodruff, 37, only found out about it after being tagged in a Facebook post.
'We've been down here all day and it's just been a complete buzz of excitement,' she said.
'There's so many people coming and enjoying it, taking pictures, it's fantastic.
'There's been a lot of debate if it is a Banksy or not. Most people I've spoken to think it 100 per cent is, and they're naming it the Valentine's Banksy. It's incredible and beautiful.'
Ms Woodruff revealed just how much the artwork means to her family.
She said: 'It's a real incredible gift that we've been given. It's a beautiful piece of work and we are genuinely blessed.
'My brother and sister and law were killed seven years ago in a hit-and-run accident and I feel like it's time for the family to be happy again and this has just really given us and excitement and buzz - something to really celebrate.'
The 37-year-old said: 'It's not bad being 67 and getting a Banksy! We'd cry if someone vandalised it - we love it.
'We've had some amazing conversations with the locals over the last few days and it's just been incredible.
'We've got another property in Easton - Banksy come and do some others for us!'
She is also worried about the artwork being vandalised - a screen covering it has already been smashed.
Ms Woodruff said she has been told she can get anti vandalism screws on a perspex box to replace the cover which was broken.
She also hopes people will visit Barton Hill to appreciate the art, following problems the area has suffered over recent years.
When asked if he was Banksy, her father added added: 'No, I wish I was - I wouldn't owe the money I owe!'
Who is Banksy?
Banksy is an anonymous street artist based in Bristol.
He has never revealed his identity and carries out his work at night, in secret, which often adds to the excitement around his work.
In 2008 a Mail on Sunday investigation identified him as Robin Gunningham, a former public schoolboy from Bristol.
After Banksy revealed he has been heavily influenced by fellow Bristol creatives, trip hop band Massive Attack, there have been theories he is in fact their frontman Robert Del Naja.
His work is heavily satirical, has a distinctive stencil style, and deals with a range of social issues, most recently homelessness and Britain's departure from the EU.
He started out as a graffiti artist with a collective in the city in the 1990s before going on to have his own exhibitions around the UK and abroad.
The artist rose to prominence in the early 2000s after a string of celebrities, including Christina Aguilera and Kate Moss bought pieces by him.
He also produced a wad of spoof £10 notes which had the Queen's head replaced by that of Diana, Princess of Wales and the tagline 'Banksy of England' on them. They were distributed at Notting Hill Carnival, raising his profile further.
Banksy art nearly always appears in public spaces, on the sides of houses, bridges or walls.
He no longer sells photographs or reproductions of his work, but famously shredded his iconic 'Balloon Girl' work to pieces as soon as it was sold at auction for £1.04million two years ago.
After he posted a video of the shredding on his social media page, London auction house Sotheby's confirmed it had been staged on purpose as a prank by the artist.
News of the Banksy first emerged on Twitter, with Bristol Somali Community Association writing: 'Today in Barton Hill, we woke up with this remarkable mural art painted on one of the houses of the area.
'We hope it's Banksy's work. Come and have a look yourself. Whoever painted, it's worth admiring their creativity. Thank you.'
One local resident, James Bullock, saw scaffolding on the wall at about 6.20am on Thursday.
He walked past it later with his girlfriend and was stunned to see the artwork had appeared.
The Bristol-based graffitist is known to create his masterpieces under the cover of darkness - leaving the scene before anyone can spot him in action.
Banksy's last mural appeared in Birmingham in December, with residents elated the street artist chose their city for his next piece.
Like yesterday's Valentine's work, it too had a festive theme, portraying a homeless man on a bench being pulled along by a herd of reindeer.
The reindeer mural, painted on a brick wall in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter appeared in mid-December and is designed to draw attention to homelessness.
A video posted on Banksy's Instagram page said: 'God bless Birmingham.'
In October 2018 he made headlines again after his famous 'Balloon Girl' original work was sold at auction in London for £1.04million.
But shortly after the hammer went down at Sotheby's auction house an alarm sounded and the artwork was put through a shredder and destroyed.
He later uploaded a clip of the shredding online with the caption 'Going, going, gone...', with Sotheby's later confirming the prank had been staged by the artist.