A new street artwork has appeared beside a telephone box in Cheltenham, England, and is believed to be the work of anonymous street art megastar Banksy.

The work shows three be-sunglasses-ed, seriously dodgy looking, spy-type characters using listening and recording equipment to eavesdrop on a telephone box which they surround. The subject matter is especially pertinent given its location just three miles from the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, a British intelligence agency.

No word yet from camp Banksy (big surprise) on whether or not he is responsible for the work, but street art enthusiasts who know way more about this than any of us say it bears thematic and stylistic similarities to his other works and uncertainty hasn’t stopped fans of the artist from flocking to its location on the corner of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road, where it appeared yesterday morning.

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“From what I can see it certainly looks like a Banksy,” commented Vince John from 1loveart gallery in Bristol, Banksy’s original stamping (literally) ground.

“It’s certainly in his style and has the supporting cast of characters that you’d expect from one of his pieces. It’s taking a swipe at GCHQ and commenting on the establishment which is something that he does very well.”

Fellow street artist Dice67 suggested that the online rumor mill has been churning out confirmations that this new piece is in fact the work of Banksy.

“It’s been all over the art forums. He’s tipped off a couple of people to come and see it – one guy flew in from France yesterday to take some photos of it. I’ve heard rumors he’s been living just down the road from it for the last week checking everything out and preparing the ground,” adding, “I’m pretty sure it is [a Banksy].”

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The elusive Banksy’s last confirmed works saw him cross the pond and lay down a new work on a daily basis in New York last October. Since then, the man himself, or woman herself, or people themselves, has remained characteristically quiet.

Whether or not it is a Banksy, there’s nothing like a good street art story to make one’s imagination run riot over the question of how street artists do it.

Since then, Banksy’s website has been updated with an official announcement of new work. In typical frustratingly uninformative fashion, all fans have to go on is a picture showing two embracing lovers stencilled onto a doorway, glancing over one another’s shoulders at their phones. No word yet on the GCHQ spooks, but Banksy fans are likely to have their hands full enough with this new work, without spending hours arguing over whether or not Banksy was responsible for the Cheltenham one. We wish them the best of luck, and suggest they heed Banksy’s somewhat unsubtle advice, leave their smartphones alone, and go for a walk around dodgy looking areas adorned with barbed wire.

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