by Graham Pierrepoint
Anyone who knows more than a little about the world of street art – from graffiti to planned and spontaneous installations alike – will be familiar with Banksy, who has been creating and signing various politically-charged works up and down the UK for considerable years. The artist’s irreverent and intentionally provocative style has long been covered in the press and on the art scene alike – however, another factor has equally courted attention from the tabloids and those involved in the scene – and that is the exact identity of the commentator, who has been subject to all manner of speculation over the years. Banksy is famously shrouded in mystery – something that is getting harder and harder to do nowadays, and this of course only helps to broaden his appeal!
This week, however, it appears that legendary DJ Goldie may have spilled an almighty pan of beans when it comes to the exact identity of the mysterious muralist. Goldie, who was in discussion with Scroobius Pip on the Distraction Pieces podcast, appeared to briefly mention the artist by his real name mid conversation – before quickly changing the subject. Goldie stated, after having briefly discussed Banksy’s work: “No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over.”
Is Banksy’s real name Robert? Perhaps – and theorists may well have a finite piece of the puzzle to slot into place, as Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja – otherwise known as 3D in the art world – has been rumored to be Banksy himself several times over the years. Both Del Naja and Banksy have referred to each other’s artwork on various occasions, and there seems to be an interesting correlation between Massive Attack concerts and a number of Banksy pieces going up nearby – meaning that the dots have already been joined before any hard data has been discovered. There is also the popular theory that Banksy is more than one person – a collective, in fact, who is responsible for creating the popular artwork under one name.
It remains unlikely that Banksy will reveal his identity this late in the game – and while Goldie’s apparent slip-up may be nothing more than mere coincidence, it certainly seems to have set the cat among the pigeons – and it will remain to be seen whether or not the mysterious ‘Robert’ referred to is in fact the artist behind the mask!