Banksy has been a controversial street artist since he or she suddenly appeared in the 1990s, but nobody knows who they really are. The graffiti-inspired artwork of this Bristol native is recognized around the globe.
Many people have speculated over the years about the identity of Banksy, with the most prominent being that he is Massive Attack’s, Robert Del Naja.
Even though it hasn’t been proven, there have been rumors that Banksy is a man from Bristol named Robin Gunningham, which have been corroborated by some of his former classmates.
However, some footage of a man has been discovered that may be the only known recording of Banksy’s face.ITV uncovered the footage, which was shot at the 2003 Turf War expo in London. Here’s an interesting video, so don’t miss it:
Because he wears a balaclava and a baseball cap, the main character, who claims to be the anonymous street artist, remains largely anonymous. He talks to the press while standing in front of several pieces from his collection, including painted farm animals.
“I’m disguised because you can’t really be a graffiti writer and then go public,” the man who claims to be Banksy told the now-retired ITV News correspondent Haig Gordon.
I’ll Be Rolling In The Dough After This One
Banksy began to gain notoriety as early as the middle of the millennium. His projects grew in scope and appeared in cities around the globe. Each new piece became a newsworthy event, and a legend began to form around him as a masked, anonymous Robin Hood–type character poking fun at the powers that be.
Paul Smith, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Christina Aguilera were among the famous patrons who bought his works for exorbitant sums of money.
His first shows were huge successes in cities like Los Angeles and London; he eventually brought the shows back to Bristol, his birthplace.
Big crowds flocked to his Banksy v. Bristol Museum exhibition in 2009, and another one invaded a closed lido on Weston-super-beachfront Mare for his Dismaland show in 2015. He was nominated for an Oscar and a Bafta for his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010), which depicted Banksy at work.
Many people, including Robert Del Naja, Robin Gunningham, Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan, and a group of artists from Bristol, have been previously speculated to be Banksy.
Robin Gunningham, a “former public schoolboy brought up in middle-class suburbia,” was identified as Banksy in an “exclusive” expose by the Mail on Sunday.
Banksy’s former agent, Steve Lazarides, recently released a book of photos purporting to show the artist at work, but none of the photos feature the artist’s face.
Mr. Gunningham has said nothing to dispel the rumors. It has also been suggested that Robert Del Naja, of the Bristol trip-hop band Massive Attack, is involved.
The singer better known as 3D has denied this, though he has claimed to know the identity of the “real” Banksy and even called him a friend.
Is this person Neil Buchanan, the host of the ITV show Art Attack? After rumors that he was responsible for the spray cans began to circulate online, he was compelled to deny any connection to Banksy.
If Banksy Wishes To Maintain His Anonymity, How Does He Do So Financially?
Unlike the majority of so-called “struggling artists,” Banksy has achieved great success. The Daily Mail claims that the British legend is worth $20 million.
But how does he earn a living while remaining anonymous? Our hero Banksy makes bank in a number of different ways and mediums.
Banksy has other sources of income besides the sale of his famous murals. His pest control company, Pest Control, and online auctions are two possible outlets for his art. In 2005,
Random House released his best-selling book Wall and Piece, and in the same year, he directed the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, which went on to win an Academy Award.
In contrast, Banksy disapproves of his work’s exploitation for financial gain. The artist was quoted back in 2013 as saying:
“Graffiti artists have a tough enough time without having to deal with greedy hedge fund managers who want to steal their work for their personal art collections. If you want to see street art remain on the streets, where it belongs, don’t buy anything unless the artist specifically made it for sale.”
Banksy’s Anonymity Is Protected For What Reasons?
A lot of what Banksy does is illegal, despite his notoriety and the fact that collectors are willing to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a piece of his art. Typically,
Banksy completes his public artworks at night, without permission, and only after the paint has dried does he claim them as his own.
Of course, his anonymity enhances the mystery of his art, but it also serves as a shield for the artist, since his creations are often considered vandalism or other forms of criminal damage in many jurisdictions.
Given his prominence, it’s also possible that a large crowd watching the installation would dilute the effect of his art. On July 15, 2020, the first online version of this article appeared.
Initially, Banksy remained anonymous out of concern that he would be arrested and charged with vandalism for the criminal damage his street art caused. He keeps painting anonymously today to preserve the mystique that has come to define the graffiti art scene.