The news outlets and social media users have singled out three men from the auction venue where “Girl With Balloon” was sold for $1.37mn at the buyer's premium at Sotheby’s and self-destructed immediately after. They may have been Banksy’s associates, one of which could even be the elusive artist himself.
The first suspect is a mysterious man in spectacles. He was caught on camera by US journalist and PR pro Vanessa Hernandez, who posted the video from the auction on Twitter.
The Daily Mail as well as the broadcaster Sky have pointed out that Banksy’s behind-the scene footage and image, he posted on Instagram, was seemingly filmed at the same angle as this man’s.
The broadcaster also labeled his spectacles suspicious, noting that the man appears to wear “spy glasses” with a built-in HD camera one can easily buy online.
The media also identified one man as possibly Banksy, or his accomplice, who was wearing black-framed glasses from Hernandez’s footage, filming how the piece of art is being destroyed from the same angle as the first suspect.
Meanwhile, the British website Bristol Live has revealed a picture of a person purported to be behind the shredding itself. The outlet claims to have been sent a photograph captioned “Banksy’s little helper.” The sender is allegedly connected to the street art world in Bristol.
The pic with a snapchat eye-emoji on it shows a man in a white scarf, wearing some kind of a wrist band or watch, hat and black glasses with some device on him allegedly in the same Sotheby's room where the shredding took place.
Despite speculation that the move benefited one of the world’s most famous auction houses and boosted Sotheby’s PR profile, the organization denied any knowledge about the trick and claimed that it had "been Banksy'd".
Incidentally the buyer of the artwork may hit the jackpot, as “Girl with Balloon” has soared in value, having now become “part of art history,” according to a broker cited by The Guardian.