An art collector who got his money back after spending nearly a quarter of a million pounds on a fake Banksy work of art says he believes he was the victim of “ethical hacking”.
The collector, who is a UK-based man in his thirties known as Pranksy, purchased what they believed to be a digital artwork from the famous reclusive artist directly from his website .
He spent £ 244,000 on a work called Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster, a digital image showing a man smoking a cigarette in front of smoking chimneys after a link to an online auction was posted on a now-deleted page from the artist’s website.
The collector revealed he was reimbursed after media coverage of the deal and said he believed it may have been “ethical hack proving a point?”
He told the Evening Standard: “I believe it was a hacker who entered the http://banksy.co.uk website.
“The only reason I placed the offer was because I assumed it was genuine due to its existence on the site.”
The collector, who said they started their name as a play on Banksy, insisted they had no connection with the artist and that it was “purely a coincidence”.
A spokeswoman for Banksy told the BBC the auction was “not affiliated with the artist in any form.”
The artist’s identity is a well-kept secret with former children’s TV art show host Neil Buchanan and Massive Attack star Robert Del Naja among the names mentioned as the man behind the name.
His simplistic graffiti style has made him a huge hit with collectors with works selling for millions of pounds, but many works are often unattributed and destroyed and stolen before they can be kept.
In 2018, it put the art world a prank when a stencil print known as Girl with Balloon was nearly destroyed by a built-in shredder as bidders argued, but it was put up for auction. at Sotheby’s in London.