James Penfold, an artist who works under the name Penny, returned home from a brief vacation to find that his laptop and hard drive, which contain hundreds of artworks by him, had been stolen from his home in East London.
“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.”
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Penfold, who works with finely cut stencils, often makes computer composites to plan out his intricate collages. When his computer was stolen, many of his works in progress were lost, including plans and completed works that were supposed to be exhibited in upcoming, self-funded shows in London. There was also 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 in a statement to Artnet News. “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.”
In the meantime, Penfold is reaching out to his network of collectors and followers, hoping to rebuild his library of works by having people send images and files of art he has sold or given away in the past. In a recent message to his followers, Penfold kept his spirits up, pointing out how ironic the theft was, considering that his work often depicts people committing theft.