Banksy reveals his real first name in lost interview uncovered after 20 years

MYSTERIOUS street artist Banksy has revealed his real first name in a lost interview uncovered after 20 years.

The graffiti artist from Bristol famed for his anonymity as well as satirical daubings has given his name as Robbie, a new BBC programme reveals.

Girl With Balloon on London's South Bank is among Banksy's most famous works
Girl With Balloon on London’s South Bank is among Banksy’s most famous worksCredit: Alamy

Banksy‘s identity has never yet been confirmed, although multiple reports have previously identified him as Robin Gunningham.

Now a new BBC Radio 4 show, The Banksy Story, includes an interview he gave 20 years ago which has only just been rediscovered.

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.

It follows a now-deleted Instagram post allegedly urging shoplifters to target high street fashion store Guess.

There have been other suggestions Banksy could be artist and musician Robert del Naja, another graffiti artist and member of acclaimed trip-hop band Massive Attack.

ITV show Art Attack’s presenter Neil Buchanan denied being Banksy in 2020, after a conspiracy theory swept the internet.

Banksy emerged on the art scene in the late 1990s, with a distinct style of stencilled graffiti images – with a full list of his street work shared here.

Among this year’s new additions is a mural in Margate in Kent, showing a 1950s housewife in an apron and washing-up gloves pushing a man into a freezer.

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.

Exhibitions of his art have included one called “Genius Or Vandal” in Portugal‘s capital Lisbon.

Earlier this year Banksy also reportedly invested £1million to help save a struggling pub in Somerset.

Banksy's work went on show in Lisbon under the exhibition name 'Genius Or Vandal'
Banksy’s work went on show in Lisbon under the exhibition name ‘Genius Or Vandal’Credit: Getty
'Kissing Coppers' was daubed on a wall in Brighton
‘Kissing Coppers’ was daubed on a wall in BrightonCredit: Alamy
Much of Banksy's art has appeared in what's thought to be his home city Bristol
Much of Banksy’s art has appeared in what’s thought to be his home city BristolCredit: Getty
'Hoodie With Knife' was painted on a wall in London's Waterloo
‘Hoodie With Knife’ was painted on a wall in London’s WaterlooCredit: Alamy

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