Who’s the real Banksy? Here are 4 details about his life and work

The street artist known as Banksy has clung to anonymity since his work became well-known in the late 1990s. Recently, a 2003 BBC interview with the artist resurfaced, in which he claimed his name was “Robbie,” leading some to believe Banksy’s real name is Robbie Banks.

Banksy is originally from the United Kingdom but has artwork all across the globe, including in Park City, Utah. The artist has gained quite a following and has more than 12 million followers on Instagram.

1. Why is Banksy’s anonymity important?

Banksy’s art makes political statements, often against authoritarianism, according to Britannica.

The fact that graffiti is illegal in some of the places where he’s left his artwork could potentially put Banksy in trouble with law enforcement.

A pending lawsuit from the clothing brand Guess, which stems from the artist encouraging followers to shoplift at the store, may yet confirm the artist’s name, according to The Guardian.

2. What is Banksy’s real identity?

In 2008, Banksy was suggested to be Robin Gunningham by the Daily Mail, although the artist denied this accusation, according to The Guardian.

It’s still not confirmed whether Robert Banks or Robbie Banks — as the 2003 BBC interview implies — is in fact Banksy’s name.

A 2003 article by The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone, who is one of the few journalists who has interviewed the artist, described the artist as “white, 28, scruffy casual – jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring.”

3. Does Banksy have a wife?

Banksy posted on Instagram nearly four years ago about doing art at home. The caption said, “My wife hates it when I work from home.”

That may be an indication that he’s married, or it could be a purposeful misdirection.

If Robin Gunningham is in fact Banksy like many fans believe, his wife’s name is Joy Millward, per USA Today.

4. Has Banksy ever made money?

Banksy told The Guardian in 2003 that he’d been offered jobs that would pay “mad money.”

When asked why he refused the jobs, Banksy said, “I don’t need the money and I don’t like children working their fingers to the bone for nothing.”

Banksy’s famous artwork entitled “Love Is in the Bin” or “Girl With Balloon” sold for $25.4 million at auction in 2021, according to The New York Times.

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