Miami artist claims Banksy entrusted him with piece at abandoned building

It’s likely not true

Local Miami artist says Banksy took notice of abandoned building in Miami Gardens. (SKY 10)

MIAMI – Banksy has developed a worldwide reputation as an irreverent prankster. He often uses the element of surprise as part of his public satirical messages to people in power.

This is why it’s out of character that the artist entrust a little known Miami-based artist to announce “the unveiling” of his artwork at 11 a.m. on Friday at a ruined 11-story building in Miami-Dade County.

Graffiti writers frequent an abandoned 11-story building in Miami Gardens. (SKY 10)

The Wednesday news release to reporters has some instructions: “If you think you know what to expect, however, think again, as the nature of the artwork will change abruptly. So keep your eyes peeled, get a good view on the western-facing wall.”

The former hospital at 17300 NW 7 Ave., in Miami Gardens is a local graffiti “penit” that is visible to drivers on the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 95. Adrian Valenzuela, a 21-year-old Californian who lived in Broward, recently fell to his death there.

Adrian Valenzuela, a 21-year-old Californian who lived in Broward, recently fell to his death at an abandoned building in Miami Gardens.

After the Valenzuela family tragedy made the news, Joël James, a Miami artist who uses the “Alien Observers” pseudonym, signed the news release announcing Banksy’s “surprise mural to get Miamians to the vote!”

Banksy hasn’t officially confirmed his identity, so this often lends itself to impersonators and false allegations of proxy artists. Contemporary art experts are certain that Banksy’s secretive vandalism began in Bristol, England, and that he uses his Pest Control Office to authenticate his work.

The Pest Control Office’s warning: “Banksy doesn’t outsource being Banksy to anyone else.”

There was also no mention of the alleged Miami unveiling on Banksy’s Instagram.

A boy waves to the crew of the Astral rescue vessel from the deck of the Louise Michel rescue vessel, a French patrol boat currently manned by activists and funded by the renowned artist Banksy in the Central Mediterranean sea, at 50 miles south from Lampedusa, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Banksy’s recent political art includes the “M.V. Louise Michel,” a rescue ship with the image of a girl who is holding on to a heart-shaped safety float. The 98-foot ship followed his “Walled Off Hotel,” a building in Bethlehem with views of the West Bank wall.

Advocates for refugees' rights had been using Banksy’s “Louise Michel” to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea until last week when “growing restrictions imposed on civil rescue ships” put a stop to the operation.

Earlier this year, Banksy’s “Forgive Us Our Trespassing” sold for $8.3 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong and “Show Me the Monet” sold for $9.8 million at Sotheby’s in London.

A member of staff poses in front of a work of art by Banksy entitled 'Show Me The Monet" at Sotheby's auction house in London, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Banksys Show Me the Monet playful take on a famous Impressionist painting has sold to an unidentified bidder at auction on Wednesday evening Oct. 21, 2020, for 7.6 million pounds (US dollars 9.8 million). (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.