Another original piece from street artist Banksy was vandalized last night. A Mazda Protege incorporated into a recent piece painted on Manhattan's Lower East Side earlier this month had the doors removed according to The Gothamist. Workers are currently on-site towing the car to a gallery on behalf of the artist to protect the work from further vandalism.
The elusive artist is in the middle of a New York "residency" that will see new pieces popping up in the Big Apple until the end of the month.
While many of his works are more whimsical, Banksy has never shied away from controversial political subjects. His latest painting shows stampeding horses wearing night vision goggles charging over a Mazda Protégé featuring a fearful man and skeletal remains. Dotting the car are targeting markers used during air strikes. On Banksy's website, pictures of the piece are accompanied by a chilling audio track featuring solider's chatter during a 2007 airstrike over Bagdad. The audio was leaked to the public by Wikileaks in 2010. The strike featured in the piece killed 18, including a Reuters photographer, and injured two children.
The owners of the Mazda Protégé are most likely thrilled to have a Banksy original tagged on their car. The Mazda is most likely a late 90s model. AOLAuto's Kelly Blue Book Value calculator places the value of this car between $775 and $2,960 depending on the actual year and condition. But with a work of Banksy art slapped on the side, the car is now worth a whole heck of a lot more. The New York Times reported a Banksy piece called 'Slave Labor' painted on a wall in the UK sold at a private auction for $1.1 million this summer.
The artist told The Village Voice in a rare interview conducted via email when money comes into play the art turns to advertising and loses it's innocence.
"No way round it -- commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist." Banksy wrote in his email to The Village Voice "We're not supposed to be embraced in that way."