A Lost BBC Interview With Banksy Has Been Unearthed Where He Confirms His ‘Real Name’

There are no two ways about it: Banksy is a legend of the art scene. He’s not just one of the most well-known graffiti artists, he’s arguably one of the most famous artists of any sort in the world. You can find his work on walls and in galleries everywhere from New York to Bethlehem, and, of course, London.

Back in July, Banksy super-fan, James Peak released a 10-part series for the BBC Radio 4. The Banksy Story charts the artist’s “rise from secretive street artist to international icon.” But a recently released bonus episode found James on the trail of a revealing early Banksy interview from 2003.

In the recording, BBC journalist and arts correspondent, Nigel Wrench, speaks to Banksy about Turf War – his first major exhibition held on Kingsland Road in London. This exhibition featured early iconic works, such as a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as a chimpanzee and a cow with Andy Warhol’s face.

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“It’s a celebration of vandalism,” says Banksy in the interview about the exhibition. “Most people think vandalism’s a four-letter word, but I think it’s the most efficient way of making art. If you put a cone on top of a statue, you make a sculpture and it doesn’t take you very long. Maybe you make a lot more people look at that sculpture than ever looked at it before.”

Banksy’s identity revealed

Banksy even appears to confirm his real name in the interview. When Nigel asks: “Is it Robert Banks?” Banksy can be heard replying, “It’s Robbie.” According to The Times, Robin Banks is another pseudonym of his. His real name, according to an article in The Mail on Sunday in 2008, is Robin Gunningham.

What this discovery does is somewhat confirm that Bansky’s name is a variation of Robin/Robbie. But the whole interview is a fascinating insight into an artist on the cusp of international fame. At the time of speaking, he’s already created pieces like Flower Thrower, The Mild Mild West, Pulp Fiction, and Girl with Balloon. But years away from Well Hung Lover (2006), Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) and Dismaland (2015).

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This is one of the earliest known interviews with the street artist, who is believed to be in his 20s at the time. An edited version was aired in July of 2003 on the BBC’s PM programme. But not all of the material was used and it has not been heard for two decades.

“It’s my right to go out and paint it, and it’s equally somebody else’s right to go out and paint over it if they don’t like it. It doesn’t take very long with a bucket of white paint to paint over things,” he also says. “It’s better if you treat the city like a big playground. It’s there to mess about it in.”

So does this young Banksy have any advice for any up-and-coming graffiti artists? “Go out, trash things, have fun!” To listen to the full interview, head to BBC Sounds here.

The post A Lost BBC Interview With Banksy Has Been Unearthed Where He Confirms His ‘Real Name’ appeared first on Secret London.

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