Banksy: Shredded Art


Madeline Shrode, Writer

At an auction, Banksy’s “Girl With Balloon” painting shredded in its frame right after it sold. Banksy designed the frame himself so that if it were ever auctioned, he could shred it. He recently released a video that said that he intended for the painting to fully self-destruct, as opposed to its halfway shredding during the Sotheby’s auction, and that the frame’s shredder  worked every time in rehearsal. 

Banksy is a street artist and activist based in the United Kingdom who makes satirical social or political statements with his art.

In a poll of 43 students, only two knew who he was before they did research. Most thought that the self-destructing painting was still art, but some thought it was not a good thing to do. Some students, such as Brenna Oxley, thought that he should have informed people that the painting would self-destruct prior to auction.

Bob Jones art teacher Mrs. Lakso thought otherwise. “He did it because it was going to shock people, and it did just that.  No one had ever done anything like that before so he did and he got the response he was hoping for. Art is often used to shock and awe and Banksy succeeds quite often.  As far as it’s self-destruction, it is worth more now than it ever would have been if he had not shredded it.” She also calls people to find the meaning in Banksy’s art. “Would I have thought to do that?  What, if any, is his message? What do people see and feel when they look at it?”

Banksy himself posted the another video to his instagram along with the quote “the urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”

Another student, Lily Hughes, agreed that the shredding of the painting was to make the art into a statement. “I believe that the self destruction is less a work of art and more a statement that artwork is not just a product to be auctioned off. Art should be seen for what it is: a creation of unique beauty that can never be perfectly replicated.”