Just one day after Banksy released a new version of his Girl With Balloon with a headscarf to support the #WithSyria campaign, the original stencil appeared on an unexpected canvas—Justin Bieber's forearm. On Wednesday, the pop star was tattooed by Canadian artist Glenn Hartless, and Bieber's new body art is getting a lot of heat.
Banksy fans have expressed their outrage on Facebook, calling for the street artist to sue. Glenn Hartless responded to the backlash on Instagram: "We weren't after a carbon copy rip off. More subtle imagery."
Whether the work is a "carbon copy" or not, it's undeniable that the tattoo uses Banksy's imagery. Bieber captioned his image of his tattoo on his Shots.me page, "Don't let you dreams float away." Now that Banksy has re-appropriated and politicized Girl With Balloon for #WithSyria, the image has deeper and more controversial implications than Bieber may have intended to portray.
This isn't the first time that the singer has overlooked the meanings behind visual imagery. In November he was caught spray-painting a figure in Brazil that looked alarmingly like a Sambo portrait.
In the most recent manifestation of his Girl With Balloon, Banksy created a heartfelt animated video for #WithSyria along with Idris Elba. It's unclear of Bieber was aware of what this stencil has come to symbolize when he went under the needle.