Graffiti artist Banksy is believed to be behind a new painting which shows a boy hunched over a sewing machine stitching union flag bunting.
The picture appeared on the wall of a Poundland store on Whymark Avenue in Wood Green, north London.
Banksy once wondered whether an artist should make money from work that was intended to draw attention to world poverty, and solved the problem by calling it ironic.
A network of myths has grown up around him. That his real name is Robin Banks. That he used to be a butcher. That his parents don't know what he does, believing him to be an unusually successful painter and decorator.
Then there's the suggestion that Banksy is actually a collective of artists and doesn't exist at all.
A documentary on the art world may strike you as a yawn. No worries. You'll be laughing helplessly at this one. The subject is Banksy, the British graffiti artist who studiously avoids being photographed, the better to launch his illegal bursts of creativity on walls and buildings, soon erased.
The recent Urban Art Sale held by Bonhams London, one of the world's largest auctioneers in fine art and antiques, founded in 1792, included works by the celebrated graffiti artist Banksy.
A number of graffiti works achieved exceptional prices: Leopard and Barcode sold for £75,650 ($121,000), Love is in the Air, 2002 sold for £87,650 ($140,000), and Bomb Hugger sold for £49,250 ($79,000)
“I started painting graffiti in the classic New York style of big letters and characters but I was never very good at it. I always used to get things too close together or too far apart and it used to take me ages.
“So I had to come up with a way of making it quicker, otherwise I was gonna get nicked.”
This much is certain: around 1993, his graffiti began appearing on trains and walls around Bristol; by 2001, his blocky spray-painted signature had cropped up all over the United Kingdom, eliciting both civic hand-wringing and comparisons to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
Among his most famous creations include an image of a naked man hanging from his lover’s window while her husband came home, a picture of a small girl holding a red heart-shaped balloon, and two male policeman kissing.
Whoever he is, Banksy revels in the incongruities of his persona. “The art world is the biggest joke going,” he has said. “It’s a rest home for the overprivileged, the pretentious, and the weak.” Although he once declared that “every other type of art compared to graffiti is a step down,” in recent years he has produced his share of traditional works on canvas and on paper, suitable for hanging indoors, above a couch.
Banksy is a well-known pseudo-anonymous English graffiti artist. He is believed to be a native of Yate, South Gloucestershire, near Bristol and to have been born in 1974, but there is substantial public uncertainty about his identity and personal and biographical details. According to Tristan Manco, Banksy "was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England.
Banksy strikes again. Even as the authorities crack down on graffiti artists in the run-up to the games (to make the city safe for all that branding, presumably), London’s most famous street artist is refusing to sit out the festivities. So far, two new Olympic-themed pieces have emerged, both brimming with the kind of subversive wit that helped inspire the recent Brandalism project.
He may not be the obvious subject for the prize piece at an urban art auciton in California, but auctioneers have estimated that Banksy's black and white stencil of AA Milne's cuddly creation could fetch a sum of £51,000.