Shredded tree attracts global attention

Kasey Snyder, left, and Kelley Cartwright, right, stand by their “Banksy Tree” at the Parkersburg Art Center. (Photo Provided)

A shredded Christmas tree at the Parkersburg Art Center is getting global attention.

Kasey Snyder and Kelley Cartwright, both of Parkersburg, are the Christmas tree creators drawing attention for their “Banksy Tree.”

They created the “Banksy Tree” for the Parkersburg Art Center’s current Artist Trees exhibit. The trees, designed by local artists and school groups, represent how famous artists might have decorated their Christmas tree.

Snyder and Cartwright’s tree was inspired by Banksy, a British street artist, who intentionally shredded his “Girl With Balloon” piece after it sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s auction house in London on Oct. 5.

“We tossed around several artists for our tree but landed on Banksy’s ‘Girl With Balloon’ that was recently shredded at Sotheby’s,” Snyder said. “We both admire his work and thought it would be a fun project to take on and recreate in the form of a Christmas tree.”

Their tree tribute is a partial Christmas tree suspended in an ornate frame, just as the Banksy girl, and has a single floating red bulb in the top corner representing Banksy’s red balloon.

Under the frame Snyder and Cartwright added shredded pieces of tree garland, broken tree branches and broken ornaments to give the appearance of the tree passing through a shredder as Banksy’s piece did during the auction.

Snyder posted a photograph of the tree on Facebook.

The story of the Parkersburg tree first appeared in The Press and Journal in Scotland on Nov. 25, Snyder said.

The Press Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland contacted Snyder after the photograph of the Parkersburg Art Center Christmas tree was posted to the Reddit website, she said.

On Nov. 30, the “Banksy Tree” had received 88,000 likes and more than 600 comments on Reddit.

Several media outlets, Twitter and Facebook accounts have shared the information, Snyder said. The Daily Mail, a tabloid published in London, ran the story about the Parkersburg Christmas tree.

“I am absolutely blown away by the global recognition that our tree has brought, but I am so very excited for our community and the Art Center. It’s been an unexpected blessing to shed a little bit of global spotlight on our wonderful art community,” Snyder said.

“The Artist Trees are one of my favorite annual exhibits at the Art Center. It’s such a community-minded project and always offers so many diverse and creative trees every year. I encourage everyone to stop by and check them all out and, of course, the now famous Banksy Tree,” Snyder said.

“I was very intrigued with Banksy’s shredded piece,” Cartwright said. “The potential messages in the content of the piece itself and then the fact that it was shredded was so thought provoking. Doing the tree just seemed like a fun idea. The global recognition is surreal. But that’s what art is … the impact is far reaching,” Cartwright said.

Jessie Siefert, managing director of the art center, said she is pleased that the “Banksy Tree” is bringing positive attention to the art center and Parkersburg.

“What Kasey and Kelley have done with their ‘Banksy’ Artist Tree is so very clever, so witty, and so much in keeping with the ongoing idea of Artist Trees,” said Abby Hayhurst, art director at the art center.

“The trees expose viewers to a piece of art (or an artist) they might never have seen before, and everyone has a laugh and a good time doing it,” Hayhurst said.

The Artist Trees exhibit runs through Dec. 22 at the Parkersburg Art Center.