Banksy reveals clue to true identity in unearthed BBC interview

The discovered audio, which was recorded 20 years ago but was never used, is finally being released for the first time as part of a bonus episode being broadcast for BBC Radio 4’s The Banksy Story.

The artist, who was in his 20s at the time, was interviewed by BBC reporter Nigel Wrench in the summer of 2003 to mark the opening of Banksy’s Turf War show in east London. During the interview, Banksy appeared to reveal his first name.

“Are you happy for me to use your name? I mean, The Independent has,” Wrench asked Bansky, who replied: “Yeah.”

“Is it Robert Banks?” Wrench asked, to which Banksy replied, “It’s Robbie.” “Robbie. OK. Robbie,” Wrench confirmed.

The never-heard-before audio also includes the artist’s defence of vandalism as art.

“If it’s done properly, it is illegal!” he said. “But I got a good reaction, I think, of most people from my work. You know, I’ve even had policemen in the past say they kind of like things about it, but… I just think it’s my right to go out and paint it.”

He continued: “And it is equally somebody else’s right to go out and paint over it if they don’t like it, you know? It doesn’t actually take very long with a bucket of white paint to paint over things.

“I think it’s better if you treat the city like a big playground, you know? It’s there to mess about in, you know?”

In the interview, Banksy also compared his high-speed approach to art to making microwave meals.

“I’m not here to apologise for it,” he told Wrench. “It’s a quicker way of making your point, right?”

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He continued: “In the same way my mother used to cook Sunday roast every Sunday and says every Sunday, ‘It takes hours to make it, minutes to eat.’

“And these days she eats microwave meals for one and seems a lot happier. I’m kind of taking that approach to art, really. I want to get it done and dusted.”

The Banksy Story bonus episode is available to listen to on BBC Sounds now. Check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what’s on.

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