MYSTERIOUS street artist Banksy has revealed his real first name in a lost interview uncovered after 20 years.
Former BBC arts correspondent Nigel Wrench spoke to the secretive undercover artist in summer 2003 to mark Banksy’s Turf War exhibition in east London.
The journalist is heard asking: “Are you happy for me to use your name? Is it Robert Banks?”
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The artist replies: “It’s Robbie.”
There have been suggestions that former Bristol Cathedral School student Robin Gunningham later adopted the name Robin Banks, then Banksy, the Bristol Post reported.
The newly-found BBC interview also involves Banksy comparing his speedy graffiti work to microwaving meals – while also defending himself against allegations of vandalism.
He told Wrench: “I’m not here to apologise for it – it’s a quicker way of making your point, right?
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“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.”
Reports last month suggested a looming court battle could finally reveal Banksy’s true identity.
He is being sued for nearly £1.4million by Andrew Gallagher – who has made a business from selling images of his work through the company Full Colour Black.
Previous artworks have included a girl hula-hooping in Nottingham, “Kissing Coppers” in Brighton, “Hoodie With Knife” in London’s Waterloo and a Banksy painting showing the British Parliament as monkeys which sold at auction for £9.9million in October 2019.
One of his most famous creations, Girl With Balloon, appeared to self-destruct in a secret shredder after being bought for £1million.