This new image that's supposedly of the reclusive street artist popped up in our inbox today.
Few things could be more fun for us here at GOOD than the dramatic reveal of an anonymous street artist. But is this really Banksy? An auction that claimed it would reveal the identity of the reclusive artist was yanked from eBay yesterday. A few hours later, this new photo of "Banksy" landed in my inbox from an anonymous emailer (can anyone else appreciate the irony there?). Here's the email from firstname.lastname@example.org, which is the same contact email listed in the auction:
And here's the top image lightened in Photoshop:
The eBay auction, which I wrote about yesterday, claimed the winner would receive a piece of paper with Banksy's real name. The seller said he had discovered his real name by matching the prices of sold pieces of art with tax records. Bids had reached $999,999 but eBay took the auction down, according to a statement, because "it didn't abide by our listing and user policies."
If you look at the cached version of the auction, you can see that the email address matches the email address that was sent to me. The user jaybuysthings has good selling feedback and has been a member since 2000. He has not yet responded to my emailed requests for comment.
What does this all mean? Well... not much. The "unmasking" of Banksy has been happening for some time, with the most famous image being published in the Evening Standard. Is this new image the "real" Banksy? Probably not. (Especially since it seems more and more apparent that "Banksy" is more than one person.) As some have speculated, this auction, and the ongoing controversy about Banksy's authenticity, may be another well-placed round of promotion for his recent "documentary" Exit Through the Gift Shop (now available on Blu-Ray!).