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Since Banksy emerged as a street artist in the early 2000s, one of the most interesting aspects of the Bristol-based painter has been his identity. Over the years, several people have been linked to the title, including Gorillaz co-creator Jimmy Hewlett, a comic book artist who also co-created tank girl, and Massive Attack co-founder, Robert del Naja, based on the fact that they both hail from Bristol and del Naja also dabbled in graffiti.
Now, a BBC recording from 2003 appears to confirm that Banksy is indeed Robert, not Del Naja.
In an interview between the emerging street artist and former BBC arts correspondent Nigel Wrench, before Banksy’s performance Grass war Showing in east London in the summer of 2003, Wrench asked if he could use Banksy’s real name in the interview, indicating that The Independent Have already used it. Wrench then asks if his name is “Robert Banks”, and the artist replies: “It’s Robbie.”
An edited version of the recording was recently used as part of a BBC podcast series Banksy’s story, which was released in July. Wrench was inspired, after listening to the podcast series, to revisit the complete original recording and discover pivotal information about the artist that had never been used.
In the newly surfaced interview, the young Banks also spoke about whether graffiti should be considered vandalism. “If this is done properly it’s illegal! But I’ve gotten a good reaction that I think has put most people out of my business. You know, I’ve had cops in the past say they like stuff about this, but… I think it’s I have the right to go out and draw it.
“And someone else also has the right to go out and paint on it if they don’t like it, you know? It actually doesn’t take long with a bucket of white paint to paint on things. I think it’s better to treat the city like a big playground, you know? It’s There to be messed with, you know?”
The missing audio portion can now be heard Banksy’s story An additional episode was released on November 21 and is available on BBC Sounds.
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