Banksy’s voice is heard for the first time in almost 20 years

  • Banksy gave interview in 2003 to BBC but it was never broadcast in full
  • Street artist defends his graffiti in clip and also says his name is ‘Robbie’ 

Banksy‘s voice has been heard for the first time in 20 years ago after a rare audio clip was unearthed of him giving an interview refusing to apologise for his graffiti.

The audio has given the street artist’s fans a tantalising new clue regarding his real identity, which is believed to be Robin Gunningham but has never been confirmed.

The recording dates back to 2003 when ex-BBC arts correspondent Nigel Wrench interviewed Banksy to mark the opening of his Turf War exhibition in East London.

Only some of that material was broadcast that July on the Radio 4’s PM programme, but Mr Wrench was recently listening to The Banksy Story podcast which came out in July this year – which led him to find the full interview on a minidisc at his home.

The BBC has now released a bonus podcast episode featuring the discussion. In the interview Banksy defends how he does his work undercover at speed, saying: ‘I’m not here to apologise for it. It’s a quicker way of making your point, right?

In 2008 the Mail On Sunday published this photograph taken in Jamaica which is said to show Banksy, who was identified as former public schoolboy Robin Gunningham from Bristol

The interview appears in 'The Banksy Story - Bonus Episode: The Lost Banksy Interview'

‘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.’

When questioned over graffiti being vandalism and illegal, Banksy said: ‘Go out. Trash things. Have fun. Other people, they can change it. They can get rid of it.’

The interview also gives a clue towards Banksy’s first name. When the interviewer asks him whether it was ‘Robert Banks’, the artist replies: ‘It’s Robbie.’

The name Robin Gunningham was first revealed by a Mail On Sunday investigation in 2008 which reported that he is a former public schoolboy from Bristol.

An artist believed to be Banksy putting up his latest creation at the Tate Britain in 2003

Banksy's work ' Love Is In The Bin' which self-destructed in a Sotheby's London room in 2018

The newspaper published a photograph taken in Jamaica in 2004 showing a man in with a bag of spray cans by his feet – which was identified as Mr Gunningham.

Banksy is also believed to have gone by the name Robin Banks, and in 2017 the DJ Goldie referred to him in an interview on the Distraction Pieces podcast as ‘Rob’.

The artist has become world famous for using stencils to spray illegal images on public walls, with his secretive identity part of his appeal.

One of his most notable moments was in 2003 when he disguised himself as a pensioner and installed a piece in a vacant spot in the Tate Britain in London. 

His artwork Girl With Balloon famously self-destructed in a Sotheby’s London saleroom when it descended into a shredder in 2018. That piece was then renamed Love Is In The Bin, which in 2021 sold for £18.6million, a record for Banksy’s work. 

Banksy's Sweep It Under the Carpet mural, which appeared in 2006 in Chalk Farm, London

Last month the Daily Mail reported that Banksy had been named as the first defendant in a High Court legal action accusing him of defamation.

His co-defendant is the company Banksy established named Pest Control Ltd, which sells his art, but details of the case are currently confidential.

Also last month, MailOnline reported how a former Labour Parliamentary lobbyist Joy Millward, originally from the West Midlands, is said to be married to Banksy.

She worked as a researcher for Labour MP Austin Mitchell, who died in 2021, and later set up Principle Affairs, a lobby group for charities. Ms Millward is thought to have met Mr Gunningham in 2003 before they married in Las Vegas in 2006.

The Banksy Story – Bonus Episode: The Lost Banksy Interview is available here

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