Banksy is arguably the world's most famous street artist, and although "ninety percent of Banksys do not exist anymore" (according to his agent) it's still important to know how to tell which is a real Banksy piece and that of an imitator.
BBC News provides a handy guide showing fans how to spot a true Banksy piece of art. With hundreds of artists across the world adopting his style, it's important to know the two key identifiers of a Banksy mural: it will be located in a busy area and not a standard art exhibition, and will typically focus on subjects of a political nature.
Other street artists may be inclined to target a rundown area such as a disused railway track, but Banksy always aims to hit the general public right between the eyes. As the BBC suggests, he would target a place such as Oxford Street, or the side of Big Ben, for example. Bill Pengelly is an artist who works with teenagers on legal street art (in specifically designed areas), and says of Banksy "the different with Banksy is where he's doing it and the topics".
The controversial and modern nature of his work (in addition to the fact it's not painted on canvas) sometimes leaves Banksy intolerable to professionals not taking him seriously as an artist. However his work is listed on many an art database throughout the world, and the subjects of his work are chosen with much thought and care. Banksy pieces are generally very politically and culturally relevant, and most (if sketched on something other than a wall) go for around £ 500,000 at auction.
Another giveaway is Banksy's signature – his name written in blocky, stencilled lettering, and a lot of the time there is a smiley face attached to the piece.
If you are lucky enough to spot a true Banksy and not a replica, take your time to breathe it in, and move on – his work is intended for the whole world to enjoy, and as the man himself says in The Guardian – "if you really want to claim it as your own, it would often mean buying a whole building, or at least a wall. "