​Banksy reveals his real name in newly unearthed interview

In a newly unearthed interview from 2003 with BBC reporter Nigel Wrench, Banksy reveals his real name for the first time: Robbie.

The 20-year-old interview was previously set to become a bonus episode of BBC Radio 4’s The Banksy Story, now broadcasting for the very first time in the UK.

The bonus episode was lost for two decades before being re-discovered by Wrench, who found the interview on a minidisc in his home. In it, the pair speak about the opening of Banksy’s Turf War show in east London, and defending vandalism as art.

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The episode also reveals the elusive artist’s voice as he speaks to Nigel Wrench in what is thought to be one of his first in-person interviews. When asked if his name is “Robert Banks”, the artist replies: “It’s Robbie”.

Multiple variations of the name Robert, Robin, and Robbie have been much-speculated over the years as Banksy’s real name. In 2017, Goldie even made an accidental slip when speaking about the artist, calling him “Robert”.

“Give me a bubble letter and put it on a T-shirt and write “Banksy” on it and we’re sorted. We can sell it now,” Goldie said. “No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over”.

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It’s long been rumoured that Massive Attack frontman Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja is behind the cloak due to his double life as a musician and graffiti artist.

Del Naja has previously admitted to being close friends with Banksy and even appears in the 2010 film about the graffiti artist, Exit Through The Gift Shop.

Years before in 2008, the Mail on Sunday published an investigation into Banksy’s identity, pointing toward a Bristolian man named Robin Gunningham. This was also later supported by scientists from Queen Mary University, who used geographic profiling to label Gunningham as “the only serious suspect”.

Listen back to the BBC Radio 4 interview with Nigel Wrench here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

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