Who is Banksy?
Banksy has amounted a mass of speculation over the years.
His works, which usually make strong political statements, have appeared all over the world, and sold for millions at auctions.
Many have tracked his work to try to unveil his identity, but it remains a secret- much to the frustration of fans.
These are the most popular theories…
In 2008 Banksy was reportedly ‘unmasked’ as Robin Gunningham, a former public schoolboy from Bristol with a passion for art. At the time his agent refused to confirm or deny the story.
The theory is certainly a plausible one, and some former schoolmates say Gunningham is the mysterious artist.
Banksy then wrote on his website: ‘I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as being ”good at drawing” doesn’t sound like Banksy to me.’
Banksy moved to London around the turn of the millennium, at the same time as a certain Robin Gunningham.
In 2001 Banksy had his first unofficial London exhibition at which he spray-painted 12 works on to the whitewashed walls of a tunnel in Rivington, Shoreditch.
But it was his show Turf War, in July 2003, held in a warehouse just yards from Robin Gunningham’s flat, that put Banksy on the map.
In 2016, criminologists at Queen Mary University even used geographic profiling to try to link Gunningham to works created by Banksy in London and Bristol. The research was delayed after Banksy’s lawyers contacted the university with concerns of the study.
Neither Gunningham, Banksy or his lawyers have ever commented on the theory.
Man in Red Hook warehouse
In 2013, many believed Banksy’s identity had finally been revealed and Twitter blew up after user @DjJonHenry posted photographs of a group of men and two trucks used for Banksy’s recent Sirens Of The Lambs and Waterfall mobile works of art.
The photo showed five men arranging stuffed animals in a truck outside a warehouse in Red Hook Brooklyn, leading to speculation that one of the men was the reclusive artist.
Henry said the photographs were taken at a warehouse in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn and that he approached the men after recognizing the vehicles from Banksy’s on-going month-long residency in New York.
The men refused to answer when Henry asked where Banksy was, although he tweeted that he thought the man on top of the truck might be him since he was directing the others and spoke with an English accent.
Other media sources, including Gothamist, have speculated that the man to the left of the vehicle could be Banksy because he bears a striking resemblance to a photo believed to be the elusive artist that was published by the Mail Online in 2008.
Henry backtracked the claims after receiving a mass of replies from Banksy-fans who accused him of trying to jeopardize the remainder of Banksy’s show.
The photographs were taken by twitter user @DjJonHenry/Twitter who believes that the man on top of the van could have been Banksy because he spoke with an English accent
The pictures were taken in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn and the photographer approached the men after recognizing the vehicles from Banksy’s on-going month-long residency (‘Banksy’ circled)
Previous siting: This photo taken in 2011 apparently shows Banksy painting in Santa Monica
Robert Del Naja
Another popular theory is that Banksy is actually Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja. The rapper is also a graffiti artist who spent years working in Bristol under the name of 3D.
The theory came to light after DJ Goldie supposedly let Banksy’s name slip on Scroobius Pip’s podcast.
While discussing the street artist, Goldie said: ‘No disrespect to Rob, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world over.’
Fans were also able to link two occasions where new Banksy works had appeared in the same city where massive Attack were playing.
Del Naja denied the reports saying that rumours were ‘greatly exaggerated.’
Robert Del Naja is another famous face swept up in speculation, he denied the claims saying that rumours were ‘greatly exaggerated’
Jamie Hewlett, comic artist and founder of the English virtual band Gorillaz is another famous name in speculation.
An anonymous forensic expert last year reportedly obtained data that showed the name J Hewlett associated with every company connected with the artist.
Strengthening the theory, Banksy’s gorilla artwork was used in the band’s music video for Tomorrow Comes Today, but Banksy’s representatives deny the claims.
An forensic expert reportedly found that Jamie Hewlett’s name is associated with every company connected to the street artist, Banksy’s representatives deny the claim
The Street artist’s 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop shares the story of Thierry Guetta, a street artist in Los Angeles who goes by the name Mr Brainwash.
The French filmmaker runs a vintage clothing shop and obsesses over filming his surroundings, he became famous after the documentary and rumours spread that he was Banksy.
The theory has been flattened by various sources.
Theiry Guetta, a street artist in Los Angeles who goes by the name Mr Brainwash was also caught up in Banksy speculation
An unnamed woman
Most theories assume Banksy is a man, but some rumours emerged that the artist is actually a woman in charge of a group of artists.
Chris Healey first put forward the theory in the documentary Banksy Does New York, and says that Banks is the blonde woman who appears in the studio scenes in Exit Through the Gift Shop.
While Healey refuses to give up his source, he maintains his stance.
The Brooklyn freelance engineer and artist was admiring one of Banky’s works in Manhattan with his girlfriend when he was arrested and accused of drawing the image.
At the time, he had a pen in his pocket but was able to prove it was not the same one that drew the graffiti and the charges were dropped six months later.