An anonymous woman claims to have caught footage of Banksy in the flesh while the artist was working on a new piece in Israel. The 20-second clip, taken on the woman's cell phone, sees a man wearing cargo pants and a white fedora, walking around a cordoned-off space holding a stencil and a spray paint can with a respirator mask around his neck. In the video the man, appears to look directly at the camera with dread, ultimately raising his hand to cover his face when he realizes he is being filmed.
A new exhibition organized by Banksy's former manager, Steve Lazarides, is due to open in the Arena mall in Herzliya Marina, a city less than an hour's drive from Tel Aviv. Banksy, however, is not associated with the show. According to the Daily Mail a witness at the shopping center said, "The mall opens at 10 AM but if you need to be there earlier you have to sign your name." When the woman went to sign her name, she noticed an English name was written on a line above her. When she asked a security guard who it was, "He said it was an artist from England."
Although Haaretz now reports that the sighting was a fake, it's not unbelievable that the woman could have caught Banksy himself. The pseudonymous street artist recently opened an interactive exhibition at a hotel in Bethlehem—the "Walled Off" Hotel, to be specific, Banksy's dystopian take on the Waldorf Hotel, which directly faces the West Bank security wall.
It's also important to note that this isn't the first time someone has claimed to have caught Banksy on camera. In October of last year, YouTube user Mia S posted a video she shot of Hosier Lane, a street art destination in Melbourne, that claims to show the artist with his mask off. Also last year, conspiracy theories abounded that Banksy was actually the founder of Massive Attack, so it's really still anybody's guess. The artist and his team have not yet responded to the footage.