Banksy 'snow' pollution mural sold for over £100,000

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - A mural by elusive British street artist Banksy depicting a child enjoying falling snow that is in fact pollution from a burning bin has been sold for over 100,000 pounds to a British art dealer.

From one side, the "Season's Greetings" mural on a concrete block garage in Wales shows a small boy with his tongue out to catch snow that, when viewed from another side, turns out to be ash from an industrial bin.

"I bought it and it cost me a six-figure sum," John Brandler of Brandler Galleries, told Reuters by telephone.

"I am lending it to Port Talbot for a minimum of two or three years. I want to use it as a centre for an art hub that would bring in internationally famous artists to Port Talbot."

The mural appeared last month in the town on the edge of Swansea Bay, home to one of the biggest steelworks in the world.

Brandler, 63, said the entire mural - on the corner of a garage - had to be moved in one piece. He declined to give a specific price for the piece.

When asked how he could afford such luxuries, he said: "I am an art dealer. I own several Banksies, I also own (John) Constable, (Thomas) Gainsborough, (Joseph Mallord William) Turner, I've got (urban artist) Pure Evil - I've got all sorts of art."

"My hobby is my business. The last time I went to work was when I was 18," Brandler said.

Banksy, who keeps his real name private, has become the most famous street artist in the world by poking fun at the excesses of modern capitalism and lampooning hollow icons, slogans and opinions.

Previous works include "Mobile Lovers" which shows an embrace between lovers who stare over each other's shoulders at their mobile phones and an abrupt warning near Canary Wharf in London that reads "Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Hugh Lawson)