Banksy appears to confirm his name in unearthed 2003 interview

BBC has released a never-before-heard 2003 clip of English graffiti artist Banksy, which seemingly confirms his real name. The clip was released today in a bonus episode of BBC‘s The Banksy Story podcast, titled “The Lost Banksy interview.”

The Bristol-born artist has maintained an air of anonymity and mystery since the 1990s, producing countless works of street art that are often marked by satire and subversive political commentary. In the clip, former BBC correspondent Nigel Wrench asks Banksy: “Are you happy for me to use your name? I mean, The Independent has.” Banksy agreed. “Is it Robert Banks?” Wrench asks. “It’s Robbie,” Banksy replies.

Though previously reported by The Independent, the clip appears to be the first recorded instance of Banksy confirming his identity. However, even The Banksy Story host James Peak has reservations over whether the name reveal is legitimate — given the artist’s history of deceptive hijinks, as well as the fodder for “Robbie Banks” as a pun. CNN reports that Peak raised this question to the publication, stating: “A name comes out. Is it the right name? Is it a clever joke?”


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The Independent reports that this would not be the first time Banksy was seemingly falsely identified. Robert Del Naja, member of the band Massive Attack, was once rumored to be Banksy. The Daily Mail also claimed to “unmask” Banksy in 2008, reporting that he was Robin Gunningham — but Banksy has since denied this claim.

Listen to the lost interview below.

Though he might be (somewhat) nameless, Banksy certainly isn’t voiceless: Last year, he encouraged people to shoplift a London GUESS store, accusing the brand of allegedly copying his visuals. The shop closed down and increased security in response.

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