‘It’s Robbie’—Banksy (apparently) reveals first name in 2003 BBC interview

Banksy speaks! The ever elusive street artist, whose identity is always the subject of feverish speculation, supposedly pops up on a long lost interview posted today on the BBC website as part of The Banksy Story series. The artist was interviewed by the former arts correspondent Nigel Wrench in the summer of 2003 to mark the opening of Banksy’s fabled Turf War show in east London. The person interviewed, speaking in a soft West country burr, was a “young bloke in a hoodie”, says Wrench.

Wrench’s chat with the anonymous artist is intriguing; the reporter points out to Banksy that some of the works in the exhibition—including painted animals such as a cow daubed with Andy Warhol’s face—are anarchist statements. “It’s not so much anarchy…. Who has the right to judge anybody else?” the artist says. And does he want to put politics back into art? “I don’t consider myself to be that political…I’ve even had policemen in the past say they kind of like things about it.” Asked about mega collector Charles Saatchi hoovering up his works meanwhile, Banksy retorts: “I’d never knowingly sell anything to Charles Saatchi.”

The interviewee talks especially about his quirky approach to creating graffiti works. “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’. 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,” says “Banksy”. Crucially, Wrench asks him if he is called “Robert Banks”; the artist replies: “It’s Robbie.” The mask has slipped it seems (just a little bit).

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