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JPS bursts the balloon on Banksy and Sotheby’s

On the 5th October 2018 Banksy’s Balloon Girl captured the world’s attention. As the hammer went down at auction house Sotheby’s on the £860,000 piece, we watched in astonishment as the Balloon Girl began to shred. Many called it a ‘stunt’; a wonderful piece of marketing. Others questioned how this could have happened and cried ‘fake’.

One person who felt this was all a little dubious is street artist JPS who is adamant that something very fishy went on that day and has been continuing ever since. Claims of back dated artworks and false certificates of authenticity (COAs) by Pest Control are at the centre of this ongoing controversy.

‘That’ moment the Balloon Girl shredded set tongues wagging on the authenticity of it all

We spoke directly to JPS to find out more about what is going on with Banksy and Sotheby’s…

“The starting point for me was the infamous shredder stunt. Although both Banksy and Sotheby’s strenuously deny being in cahoots (because that would be illegal), I firmly believe both parties were in on the stunt. But, putting the whole ‘how did the shredder frame make it past security’ type questions to one side, the bigger issue for me is that I believe the piece was falsely dated by 12 years”, explains JPS.

According to JPS, the alleged record breaking piece was not a 2006 Balloon Girl at all but a falsely dated newer version of the famous artwork. The timeline below, given to us by JPS, shows why he believes this is the case:

A timeline of Banksy's Balloon Girl reveals the similarities between the 2006 version and later ones
A timeline of Banksy’s Balloon Girl reveals the similarities
between the 2006 version and later ones

As you can see from the timeline, the 2006 version marked with a red dot is clearly a lot crisper than its 2005 and 2007 counterparts. In fact it would be fair to say that it is more alike to the later 2017 and 2020 versions.

If JPS is in fact correct, the infamous work. now residing in a German museum on permanent loan, was therefore purchased with a false back dated history.

Sotheby’s Alex Branczik made a statement attempting to quash any claims of wrong doing by stating that the piece wasn’t a 2006 work at all but a brand new 2018 version and yet at the time the hammer went down it had been sold as a 2006 work.

Sotheby's attempt to quash the rumour mill surrounding Banksy's shredded Balloon Girl
Sotheby’s attempt to quash the rumour mill surrounding Banksy’s shredded Balloon Girl

And it didn’t stop there…

JPS also claims that the next part of the Balloon Girl puzzle was brought to his attention when Banksy bought a rescue boat and the Balloon Girl appeared on the side of it

2006 vs 2020 reveals just how similar these are compared to 2006 vs 2005 and 2007
2006 Balloon Girl vs 2020 reveals just how similar these are
compared to 2006 vs 2005 and 2007

“After seeing the version on the side of the boat and comparing it to the alleged 2006 one I am positive it was back dated, also in the 3 days after this, Banksy’s Instagram account grew from 1.8m to over 6m and once again his prices began breaking records. In 2017 Balloon Girl was voted the most popular piece of UK art and I firmly believe this is why this fresh faced version appeared at Sotheby’s ”, said JPS.

In 2020, to make a point of his frustration, JPS created a piece of art titled ‘Outta Time’ which featured his own version of Banksy’s Balloon Girl holding a COA and stood next to a Back to the Future DeLorean

'Outta Time' by JPS sums up his feelings regarding the Banksy Sotheby's situation perfectly
‘Outta Time’ by JPS sums up his feelings regarding the Banksy Sotheby’s situation perfectly

At this point, it would be very easy to simply accuse JPS of just being bitter and a little jealous of Banksy’s fame but, as JPS put it, “I feel people are being ripped off and lied to. If Banksy and Sotheby’s are fabricating histories for these pieces then buyers are investing huge sums of money into false works. If Pest Control are issuing certificates of authenticity falsely dating pieces by 12 years then how can they have any credibility?”

JPS believes that the Balloon Girl stunt in 2018 was just the beginning of a sophisticated operation between Banksy and Sotheby’s where new works are given a back dated history and COA and urges potential buyers to look closely, ask questions and think twice before investing.

When JPS first approached us with his findings we found it all a little overwhelming to be honest, but, when you look at the timeline you can understand why questions are being asked, and if this does have a false history, questions about other works start to be raised.

As we’ve said in previous articles, when huge sums of money are at stake who knows what people are capable of.

Before writing this article JPS stated that he contacted Banksy, Sotheby’s and Banksy’s PR agent Jo Brooks regarding the accusation… he heard nothing.

UPDATE 05/09/2021

On October 14th 2021, the now infamous shredded ‘Girl with Balloon’ will go up for auction at Sotherby’s with an estimate of £4m – £6m. As a result of the ‘shredding stunt’ the title of the piece has now been changed to ‘Love is in the bin’ and is registered as being created in 2018. No history prior to 2018 is stated.

JPS brought this new information to our attention when he posted the following images on his social media account:

18 Comments Leave A Reply

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18 thoughts on “JPS bursts the balloon on Banksy and Sotheby’s

  1. Sorta what I expected from get – go .
    This is when Banksy “jumped the shark” IMHO.
    I thought the stunt was clever , but the whole acting like it was not a set-up is disingenuousness. Big money disingenuous.
    Not that I care some fat cat spent that kind of money on stencil art for an investment.
    All the world’s ills and needs that could be addressed with that extraordinary sum of money. Instead Sotheby’s and Banksy got fatter.
    I still admire and respect what Banksy had achieved , but his “Stop me , Smee routine is getting old because obviously it’s fake .
    Street Art is for pedestrians to brighten their commute and add a little whimsy to what can feel like a mundane existence .
    Banksy , I love you sugar , but the honeymoon is definitely over .

  2. JPS absolutely correct total con. Shredder in frame for years hahaha and then Sotheby’s change the date after they have sold the piece, no one would accept this. Sotheby’s have basically admitted that their provenance checks are worthless. This is a total nonsense.

  3. This dude just copies banksys ideas anyway or uses banksys characters in some of his work and uses banksys fame to get media attention.

      1. He openly admits that he was influenced by Banksy, even knocking out his own copies to try get attention for his own work so YES! He HAS copied Banksy, and like Mason Storm he rides the back of Banksy to try gain attention for his work.

        It’s a little sad and pathetic when you think about it, considering some of the shady behaviour and harassment of people and other artists Jamie has done in the past, you would think he would know better and just keep his mouth shut and keep doing his pieces based on little puns which, let’s be honest, they’re getting a bit dated, he needs to do something new, evolve as an artist.

        1. So true , Jamie has a terrible attitude towards true street art , but it seems some artists can only sell their work with hype more than any original artistic substance , unfortunately such people will always exist in modern society .

    1. Not even true. JPS has own original art works. And like many artist there is influences. Banksy himself got influenced by artists that came before him.

    2. Clearly you haven’t seen the wealth of original street art that JPS has produced.
      Street art is out there for all.
      Using occasional representations of other street art to create new thought provoking works is nothing short of genius. Keep doing what you’re doing JPS

  4. Really grasping at straws here. None of them throughout the years look that different. Sure there’s different variations for different pieces but most of them are the same.

    As for the shredder, yeah it was probably set up. But who cares? People loved it!

    Just focus on your own work and stop obsessing over Banksy. I’m sure there’s no conspiracy about reporters blackmailing you from “exposing the truth”. There’s just no story here, and if there is you’re massively blowing it out of proportion.

    Focus on your own work.
    Let people enjoy things.

  5. A criminal accusing another criminal of a crime? Embarrassing.

    Most graffiti artists are narcissists.

    1. So true. Jps is a narcissist . And as someone has previously stated, stalks and harasses people and claims to be the victim. Maybe he just needs to move on with his own life

  6. Let’s clear something up here, Banksy copied a lot of work from Blek. Yes JPS works are influenced by Banksy but then loads of Banksy work is influenced by Blek. And I’m sure Bleks work is influenced by another. It’s how people get started in this game. Influenced and Inspired. – you don’t wake up one day and start doing it unless you’re inspired.

    Also, people really need to do their history on Banksy. There is a whole underworld as to why he isn’t liked in this ‘game’. And what JPS said in the above article rings true. You cannot deny the evidence.

    Also please don’t call street artists graffiti artists, there’s a huge difference. And it’s incredibily insulting to the latter.

  7. If i would be the banksy team, i would appreciate any extra controversy around the artworks.
    especially the ones that subvert the “value”.
    Or maybe I would advise to go even that far to create a few anonymous hater figures.
    And maybe reval some as a hoax later on. as this is the game anyway.

  8. Team jps and team King robbo people should watch graffiti wars its about king Robbo and Banksy shame robbo was basically murdered by one of there disputed spots

  9. Predator, Alien, Leatherface, BTTF Time Machine, Batman, Spiderman, Pennywise, Freddy… so many ideas using someone else’s creations. How original.

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