The original owner of Port Talbot’s Banksy artwork has said he will not miss it after it is taken from his garage to its new home on Wednesday.
Contractors began transferring the piece – painted across two external walls of Ian Lewis’ garage – to a new gallery in the town on Tuesday.
Although glad to see it gone, Mr Lewis said he was “proud” of the outcome.
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“It’s been life changing,” Mr Lewis said, reflecting on the past six months. “It’s been a real mix; it’s been a pleasure, it’s been a pain, it’s been exciting, it’s been stressful.”
After months of planning, engineers will use a crane to lift the 4.5 tonne mural on to a HGV.
It will then be transported – under police escort – about a mile away to the Ty’r Orsaf building, where it will go on display.
The image had appeared on two sides of the garage in December, one depicting a child enjoying snow falling – the other side revealing it was a fire emitting ash.
“Whether you are for or against the steel works here – and personally I worked there for 28 years – I think people from Port Talbot feel passionate about the Banksy,” Mr Lewis added.
“I don’t think I’ll miss it, but I probably will pop in and visit it. I’m pretty proud of the outcome to be honest with you.”
Essex-based Mr Brandler said he was feeling confident the move would go to plan, but realised people would be watching closely for any disasters or further stunts by the artist.
“If anything goes wrong, yes it’s going to make it 100 times more famous, but [Banksy] has already done that stunt,” said Mr Brandler, referring to an artwork that self-destructed after auction.
“This isn’t one that’s going to burst into flames, it’s not one that’s going to get shredded.”
Mr Brandler said he believed the mural was capable of attracting up to 150,000 visitors to the town each year – and he remains committed to keeping it in Port Talbot.
“Before, when you looked over at the artwork you were seeing the pollution coming out of the chimneys behind us – that’s why it belongs here,” he explained.
“It wouldn’t look the same in the Tate gallery, or a gallery in Mayfair, or New York or Paris. I felt it belonged here.”
Mr Brandler said discussions were ongoing about the gallery becoming an international street art museum.