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02.18.11

Banksy Art Popping Up in Los Angeles

New works by the elusive street artist Banksy are popping up in Los Angeles just days before the Oscars. Will a drugged-up Mickey and mischievous Charlie Brown help his documentary win?

Call this the most creative Oscar campaign in history. The notorious U.K. guerrilla street artist Banksy has all of Hollywood in a tizzy—and on a wild goose chase—trying to spot his latest chuckle-inducing graffiti. Surprisingly, reality TV star Lauren Conrad was the first to discover what fans have dubbed “ Crayola Boy” and then the hunt was on around Los Angeles: A decidedly PG-13 version of Mickey and Minnie Mouse took over a billboard above a gas station, and a little dog with a very big bladder was spotted on Little Santa Monica Boulevard. The artist confirmed the works were his by posting the examples on his website.

Gallery: Banksy’s Latest Art in Los Angeles

So why is the anonymous painter hanging around the City of Angels? It could be a last-ditch effort to whip up attention for his critically acclaimed film Exit Through the Gift Shop just over a week before the Academy Awards, where it’s been nominated for Best Documentary Feature. He’s heavily favored to win, but a little golden man may not be reason enough for the typically monkey-masked artist to reveal his identity. Bruce Davis, the Oscars’ executive director, said, “The fun but disquieting scenario is that if the film wins and five guys in monkey masks come to the stage all saying, ‘I’m Banksy,’ who the hell do we give it to?” Well, the monkey man with the paint-stained fingers would be a good guess.

Plus: Check out Art Beast, for galleries, interviews with artists, and photos from the hottest parties.

Kara Cutruzzula is deputy features editor at The Daily Beast.