Banksy is an English graffiti artist and political activist. His artwork, usually scrawled in a public place by cover of night, is a hot commodity in the art world. Banksy forgeries are quite common, but a close look at style and subject matter can help identify an original piece.
Banksy's art almost always displayed in a public setting, while forgeries are often found in more remote locations. While the artist is highly secretive, it is generally accepted that he's trying to make politically relevant statements and that he therefore chooses highly visible places to showcase his art. The subject of genuine Banksy work is always political in nature, while forgers usually focus only on the instantly recognizable stencil style and give little or no thought to the message behind the work. Another, relatively straightforward, way of determining the authenticity of a Banksy work is to ask the owner of the property where the graffiti is displayed if the work is authentic. Banksy almost always asks permission of the owner before he begins work on a new piece. An authentic Banksy work entitled "Keep It Spotless" sold for $1.8 million in 2008. When dealing with such large sums of money, great care is often taken by experts to make sure the work is genuine.