In 2016 — like many works of street art before it — Banksy’s five-year-old “Love Plane” was removed from a parking lot wall in Liverpool, England. Rumors of its inclusion in a future museum never materialized into reality and now no one (aside from maybe Banksy himself) seems to know where the original “Love Plane” has flown to. Which officially doesn’t matter anymore, because locals believe that Banksy has returned to the site and replaced it.
The new stencil work differs from the original in a few key ways. The design of the plane is — as far as we can tell — identical to the original, but where “Love Plane” had a heart-shaped trail of smoke stemming from the plane, this new iteration has a neutral square border around the plane and in addition to the free-hand heart-trail, the small plane now has a simple banner that reads “I’m Back!”
Obviously, we can take that as a message directly from Banksy, signaling the artist’s return to the streets of Liverpool. But it can just as likely be some Banksy-devotee, and the “I’m Back!” is in reference to the painting itself and doesn’t have anything to do with Banksy. Weirder things have happened in the art world, things like self-destructing paintings.
CNN reports that Dave Green, an employee at the Western Approaches museum across the street from the site of the painting, may have spotted Banksy when he noticed a figure in a blue hoodie near the wall screwing in a large board covered in a black plastic bag. Banksy or not, that sounds like a very professional street artist set-up.
“We were standing inside laughing and joking: “Imagine that’s Banksy.” Green explained to CNN. When Green went to take a closer look he was shocked to find the new work in the exact position of the original.
Banksy has yet to confirm the work as authentic, but the elusive-artist hasn’t denied its authenticity either. Banksy, despite all the mystery, is quick to call-out copycats and the artist’s Instagram is a pretty reliable way of keeping an eye on what this infamous street artist is up to.
Is this truly a Banksy or some type of conceptual street artist stunt about art living on and surpassing the hands that created it? Either way, it’s a fun, non-political thing to ponder for a few minutes.