What’s an artist without his art? James Penfold! Better known as Penny, the British stencil artist is an artist pining for his stolen art and offering a reward of $1.2 million to recover his laptop. His hard drive contains hundreds of artworks stolen from his East London home on March 17. Penny returned home from a brief vacation only to discover his hardware storing hard drive was missing. “My work wasn’t properly backed up to the cloud, and I have lost so much work I can barely dare to imagine,” said Penfold in an Instagram post. “I’m feeling absolutely devastated.”
The stolen computer had many of his works in progress, along with an unreleased generative NFT project and a commissioned portrait of Batman, according to Artnet News. “I’d be willing to offer a million Pounds for the safe return of my files and laptop,” Penfold said. “The hard drive is probably in a bin or pawn shop somewhere, as it isn’t really worth anything to anyone else, but it’s priceless to myself and my family. It’s literally like they’ve stolen a part of me.” Penfold stated on social media that he would send a newsletter via his mailing list asking followers, collectors, galleries, and collaborators to help him recover what seems like a lifetime’s work.
Fans on Instagram were supportive and shared many encouraging comments with the artist. ‘Heartbreaking! Hoping the universe dispenses justice and time heals. Your best work is ahead of you. What is lost was simply practice. Creativity always finds a way.’ Another optimistic follower stated, ‘Fortunately, you can always create new works.’ That is true; one can steal the art but not the talent, and James Penfold has that manifold!