The elusive artist Banksy has done a good job of keeping his true identity a secret for well over a decade.
Numerous names have cropped up but none to-date have been confirmed. Apparently, the most likely suspect is a man by the name of Robin Gunningham. Scientists at Queen Mary University of London claim to have “tagged” Gunningham as Banksy using geographic profiling. This technique is usually used for catching serial killers.
Is Gunningham Banksy?
If Gunningham is Banksy then we know a little about him. Gunningham is a former public schoolboy who attended the £9,240.00 a year Bristol Cathedral School. On enquiries, it was discovered that he was a gifted artist at school thereby adding weight to him being Banksy. Banksy rose to prominence in the Bristol street scene, therefore making it likely that he came from around that area. Of course, you can now find his work all over the world with his latest show “Walled Off Hotel” in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem which has caused quite a stir.
Other names have cropped up but so far, Gunningham is the front runner. I suppose until the day Banksy reveals himself or slips up in some way, we will never know his true identity.
It is understood that he was influenced and inspired by the French stencil artist Blek le Rat and an artist from Bristol, Robert del Naja, who went on to form Massive Attack.
Elusive and identity unknown
Banksy’s elusiveness and unknown identity have turned him into something of a celebrity and in the process made him rich. -very smart! Not bad for a graffiti artist who predominately uses stencils for his work. However, he has a social conscience and a lot of his work is bringing to the public eye issues of equality, brutality and unfairness in our society.
Many of his works, and particularly his early works, were carried out on buildings and walls that just appeared overnight. Some would say it is enhancing neighbourhoods and a joy to art lovers and others say that he is defacing and vandalising property. A menace to society.
Enhancing neighbourhoods or a menace to society
One thing I would say for sure, if he came and painted something on my wall, I wouldn’t complain.
Keep it Spotless
The highest price paid for a Banksy to-date is $1.8 million. A piece called “Keep it spotless” which was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2008.
In May, there is more than a dozen original Banksy works coming up for sale in Los Angeles. The prices are expected to fetch from between $5,000 – $50,000 and one piece, “Umbrella Rat” could go for as much as $100.000.
Banksy has also moved on to film-making and appears in them wearing a mask or hood, as he did in the 2010 spoof graffiti film Exit through the Gift Shop, “the world’s first street art disaster movie.”
Whether you like him or loathe him, you have to give him credit that through his notoriety, his secrecy, he has become something of a cult figure and made himself rich into the bargain.