Who on earth is Banksy? It’s a question that’s plagued the art world for over three decades. Though the elusive street artist has heroically managed to keep his identity hush-hush since the ‘90s, every now and then he manages to almost slip up. (Unless he’s fake-slipping up as part of his act, of course.) Back in 2018, people thought they’d finally divined who he was. Now, thanks to very old interview found by happenstance, we may finally know…well, his first name, at least.
Per HuffPost, former BBC correspondent Nigel Wrench unearthed an interview he did with Banksy from back in 2003. It’s so ancient that the chat was recorded on a minidisc. To make this discovery even better, Wright found it in a cupboard.
The interview was done for Banksuy’s “Turf War” exhibition, which was held in an east London warehouse. It begins innocently enough, with Wright testing his mic, then asking if it’s okay to use his full name, namely “Robert Banks.”
Banksy then casually corrects him, saying, “It’s Robbie.”
Audio from the interview has since been made public by the BBC. Wright says he’s always believed Banksy was on the level.
“There was no reason to think he was lying,” Wrench said, adding that he repeatedly called him “Robbie” throughout their chat. “No one has ever contacted me from the Banksy empire. No one ever contradicted that.
“If it wasn’t his real name, why wouldn’t he just go with ‘Yes, it’s Robert Banks?’” Wrench added. “I thought [after he said his name was Robbie] that it was absolutely his real name.”
Mind you, this is far from confirmation of Banksy’s identity. Allowing a journalist to call him by some name is absolutely something someone who wants to keep their identity under wraps would do, right? Surely artist who sold a painting for a fortune then had it shredded wouldn’t muck up this badly.