Has the world-renowned, mysterious artist Banksy been to Wayne Country recently? If so, the only evidence was a piece of street art said to have appeared in Windsor on Thursday night.
Matt Lynch Winery owner and winemaker Brenda Lynch noticed something new on the side of the Windsor Masonic Lodge building Saturday morning. She finds a picture of a silk girl with a red, heart-shaped balloon blowing away from her. In the lower right corner was the signature of the supposed artist: Banksy.
“I went to park my car at the Masonic Lodge to pick up some wine for my tasting room and I was just amazed!” Lynch said. “I go there regularly and the last time I was there was on Thursday and it wasn’t here. I knew exactly what it was.
She wasted no time in spreading the news of her discovery as she ran into the tasting room and told the people inside.
“A bunch of people came out and took pictures and asked, ‘Is it true? How do you know? Sometimes he claims it and sometimes he doesn’t,'” Lynch said.
Banksy is considered an influential political artist and is often known for adding a performance dimension to his work. His identity remains unknown – though speculation runs rampant.
Neither police nor Windsor Masonic Lodge officials could be reached for comment about the street art. Whether this will be welcome or considered unauthorized graffiti on private property is not yet known.
But Beth Henry, executive director of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, and chamber board member Lori Scott Shimizu were excited about the potential for a local Banksy piece.
“The city could use it,” said Shimizu, of Mark Shimizu Designs in Windsor. “Apparently he’s been posting videos on his Instagram to claim (the sighting) but nothing has been posted yet. We have our social media girl on it. … If it’s true Like it or not, it’s an interesting burden.
“We think he’s enjoying wine country here,” Henry added. “Windsor is as charming as the girl with the balloon.”
Longtime Windsor Town Councilor Deb Fudge said she heard about it through a post on Lynch’s Facebook page and quickly recognized the art.
“If he came through town and it was a sign of him being here, that would be an honor,” Fudge said. “Technically it could be called graffiti, but I would call it unorganized public art. If it is that, and even if it’s not, it’s a positive thing. It’s something that makes you smile.”
According to social media, there is no other sign that Banksy has visited the area. He was most recently believed to be in war-torn Ukraine, where he created art on buildings from Kiev to Borodyanka last month.
While Banksy’s art is as elusive as his identity, San Francisco was once home to at least six of his works. The only one left is “Birdsong in a Tree” in the Mission neighborhood, visible through a fence at the corner of Erie and Mission streets, according to the travel website Lonely Plant.
An unauthorized exhibition, featuring many of Banksy’s works that have been purchased by individuals, ran from November 2021 to February 2022 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. His work can also be seen in the United States in New York City, New Orleans and Park City, Utah.
The Windsor art would be the first Banksy piece in Sonoma County, and if indeed created by the legendary artist, it found a perfect home near Lynch’s Winery.
She is a fan, who follows the political artist and filmmaker on Instagram, bought a book about him and watched a documentary about him and his art.
“I love that we’re talking about art. I love that people who were once known as vandals are known as artists,” Lynch said. “It opens the door for me to tell people that this is a great place. If we can get people to come out and see the art in Windsor, that would be great.
You can reach staff writer Kathleen Coates at 707-521-5209 or [email protected]