Who's Banksy? Theories about his true identity

Who is Banksy?
Banksy: from Bristol?
Names for Banksy
Robbing Banks?
Banksy: son of a butcher
Is this the face of Banksy?
Massive Attack
Banksy at Sundance
Who knows Banksy?
Banksy's ideology
Black Lives Matter
Does Banksy work alone?
Banksy's art is valuable
Walls and galleries
Banksy has become world famous
Banksy's work costs millions
When will we know who is Banksy?
Who is Banksy?

British, male, white, blond, and forty-something: that is Banksy according to clues gathered by journalists over the years. But who is he really? It's one of the best kept secrets in the world.

Banksy: from Bristol?

People believe Banksy grew up in the British town of Bristol because all of his early works appeared there.

Names for Banksy

For Banksy, anonymity is one of the main aspects of his artistical personality. People keep guessing who he is, though. Some think Banksy is Robin Gunningham, a graffiti artist from Bristol.

Robbing Banks?

Others say his alter ego is Robin Banks. With its reference to bank robbery, this name would befit the subversive character of the artist.

Banksy: son of a butcher

Another theory about Banksy's identity pictures him in a humble, working-class family. Rumor has it that he is the son of a butcher in Bristol. Someone came up with it, for reasons unknown, and since everything about Banksy is so mysterious, people simply repeated the rumor until it became a common assumption.

Is this the face of Banksy?

The most substantial theory about Banksy's identity comes from journalist Craig Williams. He suggests that Banksy is Robert Del Naja of the band Massive Attack.

 

Massive Attack

Williams noticed that works from Banksy appeared wherever Massive Attack gave a performance. This seems absurdly coincidental to him.

 

 

(Image: Youtube, Dscreet films)

Banksy at Sundance

Banksy agreed to promote the documentary 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' at the Sundance festival. He painted a number of works in Park City, the town in Utah where the film premiered. Toying with the mystery surrounding his identity, he managed to keep it a secret.

Who knows Banksy?

Few people claim to have met Banksy. Journalist Simon Hattenstone managed to interview him once, early in Banksy's career. Street artist Thierry Guetta directed 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' after meeting Banksy casually during a research project.

Banksy's ideology

Whatever his true name, Banksy's ideological identity is easy to comprehend. He is rebellious, to some extent anti-capitalist, a supporter of Palestine (where he made some of his masterpieces), and a bit of an old-school punk.

Black Lives Matter

In 2020, Banksy showed that he supported the Black Lives Matters movement and the anti-racism protests in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Does Banksy work alone?

Recently, theories have included the possibility that Banksy is a collective of urban artists rather than just one person. They suggest an international network producing pieces of art in concert and following the unique Banksy style.

Banksy's art is valuable

Walls in public spaces are Banksy's preferred places to paint. They carry the elements of subversion and surprise. Over time, however, his work has become so famous and rare that art burglars go after it. This tribute to the victims of the 2015 Bataclan attack in Paris, for example, was stolen and later recovered by police in Italy.

Walls and galleries

Sometimes, Banksy agrees to an exposition in a gallery. The rebellion does not end at the door, however. Remember when he sold a print of his 'Girl with Balloon' and it self-destructed right after the sale? There was a hidden mechanism in the frame to shred the paper. Some attendees at the event say they saw a person filming the whole scene, and they believe it was Banksy. But no one was able to prove it.

Banksy has become world famous

Banksy is as popular as Johannes Vermeer, the painter of the original 'Girl with the Pearl Earring.' This mural - the 'Girl with a Pierced Eardrum' - appeared in Bristol as a homage to the victims and health workers in the coronavirus pandemic.

Banksy's work costs millions

Works from Banksy that people have in their homes are increasingly costly. They are auctioned for hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the most expensive Banksy selling at 9.9 million pounds (12.9 dollars) in 2019, the Evening Standard writes.

When will we know who is Banksy?

As an icon of modern culture, Banksy could not be missing from the Simpsons' town of Springfield. Yet, there was little of him/them to draw from. One day, his true name and face must come out, though. No mystery can last forever.

 

 

See more: Street art in times of a pandemic

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