Charlie Brown Smoking with Gas

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One of the four known graffiti art stenciled by Banksy in February 2011 shows Charlie Brown, Smoking with Gas. It was discovered painted at curb level on the side of a burned out building in Beverly Hills. These bombings” verified the suspicion by many in Los Angeles that the artist was there to subversively support his Oscar-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.”

The piece shows the Peanuts cartoon character Charlie Brown surreptitiously emptying gasoline from a red can. He is shown as having a smile on his face while smoking a cigarette. It is as if Banksy is alleging that the cartoon character caused the fire that destroyed the building the graffiti was found on. People have dubbed this piece Charlie Brown Firestarter” because of this implication.

Today, there is a hole where this street art used to be. Videos of someone jacking the art from the wall spread over the Internet. The perpetrator is shown but remains unidentified. Several people in Fairfax and Melrose are reported as having possession of this piece. These, claims, however, are unverified. Most likely, it is now in the vault of an art collector. Calling this theft is tenuous at best especially considering that the artwork was arguably stenciled illegally. It is sad that the people of Los Angeles, for whom the art was made, can no longer enjoy it in person.

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