Banksy reveals real name in unearthed 2003 interview with BBC

Esteemed graffiti artist Banksy has seemingly revealed his real name in a newly unearthed interview from 2003.

The interview – which was recorded radio twenty years ago but was never released – is finally being shared for the first time as part of a special episode being broadcast for BBC Radio 4’s The Banksy Story.

The famous Bristol-based artist – who has for decades remained anonymous – spoke to former BBC arts correspondent Nigel Wrench while the artist’s 2003 Turf War exhibition was being installed for Radio 4’s programme.

Speaking to Wrench, Banksy – who first had his name printed in a report from The Independent – confirmed his name for the first time, as revealed via a press released shared by the BBC.

Wrench asked if he could use Banksy’s real name in the interview, citing that The Independent had already used it, asking the artist to confirm if his name was Robert Banks. “It’s Robbie,” Banksy clarified.

Banksy's 'Valentine’s Day Mascara' artwork
Banksy – ‘Valentine’s Day Mascara’. CREDIT: Banksy/Instagram

Elsewhere in the interview, Banksy – or Banks – spoke about whether graffiti is vandalism: “If it’s done properly it is illegal! But I got a good reaction I think off most people from my work. You know, I’ve even had policemen in the past say they kind of like things about it, but… I just think it’s my right to go out and paint it.”

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

The Banksy Story bonus episode is available on BBC Sounds now.

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