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Girl in a jacket

Resurfaced 2003 interview of globally renowned artist ‘Banksy’ offers info into his real identity

Returning to an old interview may be a vital key in completely uncovering one, if not the world’s most infamous and elusive street artist’s true identity.

His real name and identity have been a subject of numerous debates and discourse since the 1990s, but recently we may have a large development about this surrounding mystery. It was found out that Banksy, a prominent English-based graffiti artist widely known for his political activism and subversive works such as “Girl with Balloon” (2002), “Love is in the Bin” (2006), and “Flower Thrower” (2007), has already revealed his name in a lost BBC interview two decades ago, which was recently rediscovered in November.

In the interview with reporter Nigel Wrench, when asked if he goes by “Robert Banks,” the graffitist, who was in his 20s at that period, responds, “It’s Robbie.” Banksy is widely recognized for preserving his anonymity for many years and for his distinguishable satirical stencil art style as well as his unpredictable decisions and performances, particularly his surprising gimmick of quickly shredding his most renowned work “Girl with Balloon” in 2018, moments after being auctioned for $1.4 million.

The mentioned radio interview also included Banksy speaking his first defense and explanation behind the monumental work.

“I’m not here to apologize for it,” he said at the time, responding to accusations of vandalism. “It’s a quicker way of making your point, right?”

“Go Out! Trash things! Have fun! Other people, they can change it. They can get rid of it,” stressed Banksy, who also announced at the same time that he is not appearing on his own Turf War show because graffitists are not “in a position” to “stand next to your work.”

Despite his works earning millions and gaining worldwide acclaim with some being casually created in various places, beginning from a public structure or private property of a residence to the country’s prestigious, wealthy art galleries, and internationally to Ukraine as well as the West Bank and Palestine, no one had ever managed to catch him with a spray can on his hand.


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A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)

A lot of personalities have been speculated to be Banksy over the years including trip hop collective Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, former Art Attack presenter Neil Buchanan, and even Welsh politician Billy Gannon were all suspected in the past, with the latter eventually stepping down as a councilor of Pembroke Dock last year which he blames the continuous rumors was primarily causing his incapability of fulfilling his duties.

During the year 2008, The Mail on Sunday tried to find out about the artist’s identity. They claimed that he was Robin Gunningham, a then-34-year-old former Bristol public schoolboy with several of Gunningham’s associates and former schoolmates confirming this information. 

Aside from this, this was supported by a study by a team of researchers at the Queen Mary University of London in 2016 where they conducted a geographical profiling which concluded that the incidence of the guerilla artist correlated with the known movements of Gunningham.

Furthermore, according to The Sunday Times, Gunningham began utilizing the name Robin Banks, which later turned out to be Banksy.

Gunningham himself denied these allegations. However, according to reports, an ongoing lawsuit threatens to reveal his full name. Banksy is currently embroiled in a legal battle as he is facing a suit filed by a company accusing he “gravely damaged” its reputation with a 2022 Instagram post in which he stated, “Alerting all shoplifters. Please go to GUESS on Regent Street. They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?”


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