In the summer of 2011 a silhouette painting suddenly appeared on the south side of the silo which is on the west side of the barn at the New Richmond Heritage Center. The silo is painted a deep brick red and the white painted silhouette is of a little girl in a vintage dress stretching up on her tiptoes holding balloons on strings in the hand of her extended arm. The figure is about four feet tall.
We had no idea who did it, but we liked it and left it there, even had the white paint refreshed when it began to lose its edge. It could be termed graffiti because a building was painted with some spontaneous art that the owners had not commissioned or requested.
In the summer of 2012, a lady came by the shop in the Farmstead Flea Market and told Irv Sather that she knew who had done the Banksy-like painting. She was taking pictures of herself for a photography class she was taking at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. She was dressed like our “Balloon Girl” and holding balloons floating on strings just like the girl. She gave Irv the names of the two boys who had done the painting. Irv assured her that we really like our “Balloon Girl” and that the boys didn’t have to worry about us knowing their names.
In the February, 2013 Smithsonian magazine there is an article about the British graffiti artist, known simply as “Banksy” after whose graffiti art our little “Balloon Girl” is patterned. In 2010 Banksy had been selected as one of Time magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people for that year. He was described as a graffiti master, painter, activist, filmmaker and all-purpose provocateur. He supplied a photo of himself with a paper bag (recyclable) over his head. His real name remains unrevealed and most of his fans don't want to know who he is. His work now commands hundreds of thousands of dollars in the auction houses of Britain and America. Our “Balloon Girl” looks like one of the stencil approaches to graffiti that he now uses to allow time for the necessary escapes.