Sotheby's employees pose with the newly completed work by artist Banksy entitled 'Love is in the Bin', a work that was created when the painting 'Girl with Balloon' was passed through a shredder in a surprise intervention by the artist, at Sotheby's auction house in London on Oct. 12, 2018, following the work's sale. (AFP/Ben Stansall)
The identity of the British street artist has been for decades one of the best-kept secrets in the art world. A long-lost interview featuring a man who is allegedly Banksy, might put an end to this mystery.
The archived footage was found in the vault of television company ITV London by Bristol-based reporter Robert Murphy while he was doing some research on Banksy and released this week.
It features a man, whose face is partially covered with a T-shirt, working on two artworks that have since been attributed to the famous street artist. One piece depicts a baby playing with alphabet building blocks that spell out “KILL MORE.”
“I’m disguised because you can’t really be a graffiti writer and then go public. The two things don’t quite go together,” the anonymous man explained to ITV News correspondent Haig Gordon.
The two-minute report was filmed in 2003, ahead of Banksy’s breakthrough Turf War exhibition. The presentation, staged in a warehouse in London’s East End neighbourhood, famously featured live farm animals that he decorated with spray-painted stencils.
Richard Jones, who has published several books about Banksy and Bristol street art, described the footage as “very, very rare.”
“His anonymity is something which is very, very important to him,” Jones told ITV News.
Following the release of the archived clip, a spokesperson for Banksy told the Guardian that they “get loads of these,” declining to further comment on the rumor.
Although Banksy’s identity has never been officially confirmed, British journalist Simon Hattenstone described the Bristol-born artist, whom he met during an interview for the Guardianin 2003, as “a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of the Streets.”
“Bansky is white, 28, scruffy casual — jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring,” he said at the time.