The BBC has found an old interview with Banksy that was never broadcast in its entirety and which seems to reveal the first name of the enigmatic British artist: Robbie. In this 2003 interview unearthed Tuesday for a special episode of The Banksy Story podcast, a BBC journalist asks the graffiti artist if his name is Robert Banks, to which the artist responds: "It's Robbie." This is one of the only interviews given to a radio by this world-famous artist, who has concealed his identity since the start of his career and whose works sell for tens of millions of euros.
This mystery has generated a lot of speculation, and the first names of Robin, Robert and even Robbie have been mentioned. Nigel Wrench, a former BBC culture journalist, interviewed the twenty-year-old artist in July 2003 for the opening of his Turf War exhibition in London.
The interview was not broadcast in its entirety at the time. But almost 20 years later, while listening to the podcast on Banksy, the journalist remembered his interview with the graffiti artist, and found the recording in its entirety on a disk he had kept at home. Banksy also compares his graffiti to “quick” meals, “to be heated in the microwave”, and believes that he does not have to apologize for his works painted with stencils without authorization in public spaces.
Asked about the illegality of his works, the graffiti artist, committed against Brexit, for the defense of migrants, and support of Ukrainians at war against Russia, responds with advice: “Get out of your house! Do some damage! Have fun!" The British public audiovisual group's podcast also allows you to hear another interview that Banksy gave to American radio NPR in 2005.
“We assume you are who you say you are, but how can we be sure?” the host asks, to which his guest responds: “Oh, you have no guarantee on that.”
A legal battle between Banksy and the company Full Color Black (FCB), which sells greeting cards inspired by the artist's stencils, could also soon force him to reveal his name to the public. Full Color Black sued the graffiti artist and the company that identifies his works, Pest Control, for defamation after the artist expressed outrage on Instagram about the resemblance to his works.