On 18 February, BBC News reported that a recent Banksy mural, known as the Slave Labour mural portraying a young child sewing Union Flag bunting (created around the time of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II) had been removed from the side of a Poundland store in Wood Green, north London, and soon appeared for sale in Fine Art Auctions Miami's catalogue (a US auction site based in Florida). News of this has reportedly caused "lots of anger" in the local community and is considered by some to be a theft. Fine Art Auctions Miami has rejected claims of theft, saying it had signed a contract with a "well-known collector" and that "everything was above board"; despite this, the local Councillor for Wood Green is campaigning for the work's return.
The buon fresco technique consists of painting in pigment mixed with water on a thin layer of wet, fresh, lime mortar or plaster. The pigment is then absorbed by the wet plaster; after a number of hours, the plaster dries and reacts with the air: it is this chemical reaction which fixes the pigment particles in the plaster. After this the painting stays for a long time up to centuries in fresh and brilliant colors.
Peter Gibson, a spokesman for Keep Britain Tidy, asserts that Banksy's work is simple vandalism, and Diane Shakespeare, an official for the same organisation, was quoted as saying: "We are concerned that Banksy's street art glorifies what is essentially vandalism." In his column for The Guardian, satirist Charlie Brooker wrote of Banksy "...his work looks dazzlingly clever to idiots."
During World War II the sea front was disrupted by the installation of the Nazi Atlantic Wall and the town suffered from bombing during the allied invasion in 1944. This contributed to the diminishing of the ancient fishing industry, which numbered some 150 boats at the turn of the century, and had all but disappeared by the 1960s. Today, although the hospital sector remains economically important, the town has again promoted itself as a tourist attraction. A seaside bathing station, with an immense beach of fine sand on the Opal Coast, it continues to be a centre for sand yachting and the new sport of surfboarding. The former Berck Plage railway station has been converted into a casino.
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One of the most striking murals features a young girl named Eleanor who is the daughter of Greg Weddig, Grammer’s friend. The monochromatic image features the girl as she looks up towards and the entry of their former home. “[Eleanor] would spend hours outside playing at that corner where that tree was,” Weddig recalled. His daughter hasn’t returned to Paradise since the fire but the mural might encourage her to visit.
The work famously shredded itself shortly after it was hammered down at £1 million ($1.4 million) at a Sotheby’s auction in London in October. Following the sale, the artist changed the title from Girl with a Balloon to Love is in the Bin and the winning bidder, identified only as a female European collector, decided to keep the work in its newly destroyed form.
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Banksy has also been long criticised for copying the work of Blek le Rat, who created the life-sized stencil technique in early 1980s Paris and used it to express a similar combination of political commentary and humorous imagery. Blek has praised Banksy for his contribution to urban art, but said in an interview for the documentary Graffiti Wars that some of Banksy's more derivative work makes him "angry", saying that "It's difficult to find a technique and style in art so when you have a style and you see someone else is taking it and reproducing it, you don't like that."
Following in their footsteps came the sons of local families who, until about 1914, constituted what has been called 'the Berck School'. These included Francis Tattegrain, who was encouraged to take up art by Lepic; Jan Lavezzari, son of the town architect who was also a friend of Lepic; Charles Roussel (1861–1936), who settled in the town in 1886; and Eugène Trigoulet (1864–1910). After World War I the town and its inhabitants continued to be represented artistically by Roussel and by Louis Montaigu (1905–1988). Fishermen in interiors were a speciality of the latter.