Search icon


02nd Sep 2016

A journalist reckons he’s figured out who Banksy is and he’s got a strong case

Could someone have finally cracked it?

Matt Tate

We’ve always hoped the theory that Neil Buchanan – the chirpy host of 90’s kids show, Art Attack – is in fact the infamous Bristol graffiti artist Banksy, would turn out to be true. But the reality of the world is never that much fun.

There have been plenty of suspicions about the true identity of the enigmatic street artist. It feels as though someone different seems to think they’ve uncovered him every week. You’ll remember a few months ago a rumour started circulating that he/she might accept an honour at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, but it was never going to be that easy.

However, journalist Craig Williams reckons he’s cracked it. The 31-year-old has suggested that Banksy might actually be a collective of people, led by graffiti artist Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja, who is also a founding member of the iconic Bristol (the same city widely acknowledged to be the home of Banksy) trip-hop band, Massive Attack.

In his five-month investigation, Williams cross-referenced the appearance of Banksy artwork with Massive Attack tour dates, and claims to have discovered at least six locations where the two have coincided.

He said two Banksy murals were reported in San Francisco on May 1, 2010, which is just after the band played a two-night stint in the American city.

They played Toronto a week later and fresh Banksy’s followed. Further down the line on the same tour Massive Attack happened to play Boston’s Chinatown – you guessed it – right after a Banksy popped up. Williams has plenty more examples.

“But what if Banksy isn’t the one person everyone thinks he is,” he said.

“What if – akin to the Shakespeare conspiracy theories, Banksy is a group of people who have stencilling different locations both at home and abroad? Such a rich body of work done over a decade, across the globe, may allow for the suggestion.”

Graffiti Work Higlights Political Issues For The Aids Crisis In Africa

Bansky rose to prominence in the late 90’s, around the same time Massive Attack released their seminal album, Mezzanine. Robert Del Naja was credited as being the first graffiti artist in Bristol. Could it be that he was directly involved with two of the southwest city’s most important cultural exports?

Massive Attacks are due to play a homecoming gig to 27,000 fans on Saturday nights, and Williams recommends people keep their eyes peeled for you-know-who.

Read more:

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required