An early Banksy mural in Bristol was accidentally painted over.

Alex Wexelman
Sep 14, 2018 4:20PM, via Metro

They say “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone,” and this rings true for a Bristol shop owner who painted over what she thought was just regular graffiti on the store’s metal shutter. Then she was informed it was actually one of infamous street artist Banksy’s earliest known works.

"We were halfway done painting, and someone asked if they could take one last photo because it's a Banksy—but I had no idea," the co-owner of a new shop, Jo Xie, told the BBC.

The mural, painted on the shop’s shutters, was commissioned by owner Tony Coffey back when the space housed the skate shop Rollermania. “In the 1990s Tony gave [Bansky] £20 or £30 to spray his shutters,” Banksy super-fan Simon Whiteaway explained.

The mural’s provenance was confirmed by London-based artist Inkie, who began spray painting with artists including Banksy and Massive Attack founder 3D in Bristol during the 1980s. “It was first painted by 3D Massive Attack in the mid-1980s, then me and FLX painted it followed by Dicy And Feek TCF crew,” Inkie said. “Banksy then painted a rather ugly freestyle over this in his pre-stencils period. It didn’t go down well and probably better for him it’s being painted over.”

Since the mural wasn’t totally destroyed, Jo Xie and her business partner are inviting local street artists to come up with new ideas for the bottom half of their shutters.

Alex Wexelman
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019