People believe they’ve figured out the identity of Banksy after his artwork shredded itself at an auction following its million-dollar sale.
The famous anonymous artist destroyed his iconic painting of ‘Balloon Girl’ at Sotheby’s Auction House in London on Friday (October 5), by secretly installing a shredder into the bottom of the picture’s frame.
After the hammer announced the artwork had been sold to the highest bidder, who offered a whopping $1.1 million (£838,418) for the piece, an alarm sounded and the painting began to move through the bottom of the frame, emerging in shreds.
You have to admit, while unfortunate for the buyer, it’s a very awesome stunt to pull off. Banksy is pretty suave.
Take a look at the shocking moment the shredder went to work here:
A picture of the shredded artwork appeared on Banksy’s Instagram page, with the caption ‘going, going, gone…’.
Of course, the image could have been taken by someone else and then simply shared by Banksy, but the post has lead many people to believe that the artist himself was at Sotheby’s on Friday.
The speculation is all well and good until you realise that no one actually knows what Banksy looks like, so even if he was there, he’d be pretty hard to identify.
However, there have been some rumours about who might be behind the powerful graffiti, and one name that keeps cropping up is Robin Gunningham.
Gunningham is a street artist from Bristol, and if you were to type his name into Google, the search engine would actually identify him as Banksy.
Though naturally, the street artist has denied all rumours he’s the evasive ‘Balloon Girl’ artist.
Here he is:
— 𝕄𝕣. (@dee_kostopoulos) October 6, 2018
Gunningham has dark, curly hair and glasses – interestingly, much like a man who was present at Sotheby’s auction.
A video shared from the auction scanned the room and captured the man taking a picture of the shredded artwork.
Check it out here:
— Vanessa N. Hernandez (@VanessaVonZed) October 6, 2018
Just to clarify, here’s the man in question:
Admittedly, it’s not great evidence. But wait, there’s more!
The man can be seen taking a picture of the ruined artwork, which just so happens to be from a very similar vantage point as the photo which appeared on Banksy’s Instagram page.
See for yourself:
Again, it’s a bit of a stretch, and I’m not sure the evidence would hold up if a real investigation ensued, but it’s enough for Banksy enthusiasts to start speculating.
One Twitter user seemed pretty convinced about the man’s identity, writing:
Banksy is a bloody genius. Love this guy. Quite possibly the greatest/funniest act of rebellion Ive seen in the art world (a lot healthier than cutting off your ear)! [sic]
Ironically, the piece immediately doubled in its value as a result! Robin Gunningham I salute you #banksy [sic]
Banksy is a bloody genius. Love this guy. Quite possibly the greatest/funniest act of rebellion Ive seen in the art world (a lot healthier than cutting off your ear)!
Ironically, the piece immediately doubled in its value as a result! Robin Gunningham I salute you #banksy pic.twitter.com/yNfRCS8ymT
— Sarah Wilde (@SassyWilde63) October 7, 2018
Another person believed the Bristol street artist had been at the auction and tried to slip out unnoticed:
Robin Gunningham was spotted there in a flat cap and sun glasses leaving the auction house quickly apparently.
Robin Gunningham was spotted there in a flat cap and sun glasses leaving the auction house quickly apparently. More likely to be him than Del Naja #Banksy
— Lee Gibbs (@Trader_Gibbs) October 6, 2018
Banksy’s creative stunt has certainly succeeded in getting us all talking about the artist, though whether we’ve actually managed to figure out his true identity remains unconfirmed.
Will the mystery ever be solved?
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.