Self Destructing Paintings

Please take my advice and Don't Destroy Your Paintings! That is unless you're Banksy!

I’m sure many of us would love to be able to make some of our paintings self destruct - if not for the effect and publicity but because we are not particularly pleased with the end product.

But none of us would self destruct a painting after it sold, and especially after it sold for $1.4 million! But this is exactly what happened last Friday at Sotheby’s after someone with a lot of money purchased a painting done by graffiti artist Banksy.

(Credit: TVNZ)

In the image above you can see the framed painting on the left and the shredding taking place on the right.

In a video, Banksy explained that he had secretly installed a shredder in the frame of the painting, titled “Girl with Balloon,” to destroy it if it ever went up for auction. The anonymous artist is known for creating satirical and subversive political art, and by shredding the painting, he essentially turned the auction itself into a work of art, quoting artist Picasso in an Instagram post: “the urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” (

Sotheby’s described the painting as a “framed work, spray paint and acrylic on canvas,” and notes that it’s “the first time in auction history that a work of art automatically shredded itself.” It’s certainly a long-simmering plot, and it seems unlikely that the shredder and its power source would have remained a secret for so long. The painting itself was a 2006 reproduction of the iconic image, which features a girl releasing a red balloon. The original image was spray painted on a building in East London in 2002, although it was covered up for many years before it was removed in 2014 and sold at auction the following year. Other copies of the painting have been auctioned over the years. (

Follow this link to watch the shredding of the artwork on video.

You can also watch a video on how the shredding was achieved.

The question we must ask ourselves is Has this prank given art a new meaning or is it just a publicity stunt? We won't be debating Picasso's statement: the urge to destroy is also a creative urge. I think we will place this art event away in our MindStudio in the too hard file.

I started to do some research on paintings and other works of art that had been destroyed, usually by people with severe mental illnesses. But it all made me so sad I gave up. I don't know about you but I'm on about building, developing, nurturing, learning from our mistakes... Destruction is such a senseless action.

I will be very interested to hear some opinions about this topic.

I also need to clarify that the video of Wakool in the blog a couple of days ago was of the creation of the house's portrait by Paul Summerfield not the creation of the actual house. My apologies for my sloppy writing. My editor is in Tasmania on another holiday!!

Back tomorrow with the uncontroversial topic of Houses.