ENCINITAS — The anonymous street artist Banksy left New York only a few days ago after finishing a guerilla-style, month-long exhibit of outdoor graffiti art.
But the U.K.-based artist may have also left his mark, or at least an inspirational one, here in Encinitas.
Last week, on her way home from a meditation practice at the Self Realization Fellowship garden, Tara Simone Messier spotted a small canvas leaning against a window sill of the vacant building on the 1000 block of Coast Highway 101.
The canvas, slightly larger than an 8.5-inch by 11-inch, had a printed out piece of paper with a previous Banksy work glued to it. On the back of it, written in pencil appeared the number “four.”
Messier’s first exclamation when she saw it was, “Awesome!”
She drove around a little while more, searching for any others.
Her theory: That it was the start of a scavenger hunt.
This wouldn’t be the first time a scavenger hunt centering on artworks has taken place. Carlsbad-based artist Bryan Snyder has initiated hunts based on his character “Doodle,” hiding canvassed paintings around Carlsbad and leaving clues behind for people to find them.
Recently an anonymous street artist going under the name “BERT” has been installing works based on outcomes of World Professional Surfing events on building walls in Encinitas, Oceanside and most recently Solana Beach.
“Encinitas has a little bit of an edge to it,” Messier said. “And I like the chances and the boldness of some of the artists around here to make a statement, bring it to people’s attention. And Banksy, I don’t know about California, but London and New York, I hope Banksy comes out here. We’re waiting,” she said.
Messier, who is an artist herself, said when she used to paint on walls she would get in trouble for it. “I think I got suspended for it in school,” she added.
So far, no other Banksy canvases have been found in the city, or at least there’s been no mention of them.
Whether the piece was meant to be part of an art scavenger hunt inspired by Banksy, or just something left innocently behind will remain a mystery.