I convinced Banksy to make a special piece of art in my hometown – I was devastated when it was destroyed DAYS later
A STREET art super-fan who convinced Banksy to make a piece in his home town was left heartbroken when the work was accidentally destroyed by builders just days later.
Jacob Smith, 30, said he spent two years “badgering” the illusive street artist to stencil graffiti in Herne Bay, Kent.
The piece, which could be worth as much as £500,000, was inadvertently pulled down by workers and dumped in a skip after it appeared on the wall of a derelict farmhouse.
Earlier this month it emerged the piece – which could have sold for millions if still fully intact – was torn down by contractors who had no idea it was a genuine Banksy.
The remains of the mural, called Morning is Broken, have since been fished out of a nearby skip, but it is not known what will happen to the pieces of wall.
It showed a young boy opening curtains made of corrugated iron with a cat peering out of the 500-year-old building.
Banksy confirmed he was the creator of the piece in a post shared to Instagram just days later.
Now Mr Smith is set on keeping the piece in the seaside town where it was created, as “the work was done for a purpose – to benefit the town”.
He said: “I first emailed Banksy’s office two-years-ago on the off chance that he would do something in Herne Bay for an art festival I’m putting together.”
After emailing right up until the week before the art’s unfortunate end, he eventually got the response that his proposals would be put in front of the elusive artist.
But on March 14, he was shown an Instagram post of the crumbled building by his girlfriend.
Mr Smith said: “I felt disbelief and shock when I heard the news. I worked hard to make this happen – so I’m more heartbroken than most.
“I spent so long badgering him to do a piece – and now be has – but no one can see it.”
He believes it would be an “awful coincidence” if his emails were not the catalyst for the street-artist hitting Herne Bay.
The street-art collector and occasional dealer lives just 20 minutes from Blacksole Farm where the work, titled Morning is Broken, went up.
He hopes developers, Kitewood, will return the work to the town and display it for all to see.
Mr Smith estimates that after being restored, the art could be worth between £300,000 to £500,000.
He added: “It was created in Herne Bay – It should stay in Herne Bay.
“I still can’t believe he did a piece, and I am grateful for that, but I just want it to stay here.”
The Banksy lover is working on plans for the Kent Street Art Festival, where he wishes the restored painting will be showcased along with local talent, as well as his own collection of original hand sprayed placards by the famous artist from the 2003 anti-war march in London.
The whereabouts of the recent painting is still unknown, but contractors pulled broken remains out of the skip after realising it’s significance.
Shortly after, rumours that the man himself had been spotted at Blacksole Farm stirred after a mysterious chap in a bowler hat was seen.
The art is not the first Banksy to be taken apart in Kent, as his work in Margate was dismantled by Thanet District Council just hours after he claimed it, and is now being taken out of the wall by an Essex art gallery to be displayed at Dreamland.
Kitewood has been approached for comment.