Who is Banksy?
Banksy is one of the most celebrated street artists of our times. He is also one of the most controversial artists of our time. Banksys graffities have been known to appear in cities around the world. Banksy made himself popular with his well known guerrilla art in public places like on street walls around London, Bristol. His graffiti on the West Bank barrier separating Palestinians and Israelis made him even more popular. His works have sold for record prices and he has a huge fan following including Brad Pitt and Christina Aguilera. But to this day, the exact identity of this artist remains unknown.
Banksy is popular for his various tricks which have landed him into controversy. His tricks include hanging a picture of Mona Lisa with a smiley face in Louvre in Paris and assembling a set of portable toilets to resemble the Stonehenge nicknamed the “bog henge”.
Banksys true identity is a fiercely guarded secret. Various photographers have claimed to have captured this artist on film but none of them have been able to prove that it was indeed Banksy they photographed. It is said that Banksys anonymity is not simply a trick to sell more. It is important since graffiti is illegal in most places.
Banksys real name is popularly believed to be Robin Banks or Robin Gunningham, as reported by the Daily Mail. The only known fact about this elusive artist is that he was born and raised in Bristol. He is thought to have been born in 1974. Banksys agent is Lazarides who owns a gallery in London that sells original works by Banksy. Banksys website is managed by him as well.
In 2008 A well known paper claimed to have unearthed the true identity of the artist and printed a photo of him at work. The paper claimed that Banksy or Robert Gunningham attended the Bristol Cathedral School and also printed photos of him from his earlier days. This claim was neither confirmed nor denied by his agent. However an anti-graffiti officer in Bristol who has been on Banksy’s case for years claimed the man in the photo was indeed him.
This disappointed many of his fans who imagined him to be a street junkie rather that a man from a middle class family who attended a public school. However man other fans maintain that it is his work that made him popular and his identity did not matter.
Banksy himself was once quoted saying "I have no interest in ever coming out". Indeed this might get him into trouble since his many graffities and pranks have made him infamous among the police. So exactly who is Banksy? We may never know for sure.