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Two men are sitting in front of a famous graffiti of British street artist Banksy, painted on a wall of a gas station in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.--AFP
Two men are sitting in front of a famous graffiti of British street artist Banksy, painted on a wall of a gas station in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.--AFP
Banksy is ‘Robbie’—artist reveals first name in 2003 interview

A rare nugget of information about the famously enigmatic street art superstar Banksy emerged Tuesday when he gave his first name as “Robbie” in an unearthed 2003 BBC interview. In the interview, one of the few known to exist with the global art phenomenon, he is asked if his name “Robert Banks”, to which he replies: “It’s Robbie.” His identity has long been the source of speculation, with some claiming his name was Robin or Robert Banks.

Banksy talks about his distinctive stenciling style in the interview, a podcast bonus part of a series called “The Banksy Story”. “It’s quick... I want to get it done and dusted,” he is heard to say of his work. The artist was in his 20s at the time, and was promoting the opening of his “Turf War” show in east London.

The series also contains a 2005 interview the artist purportedly gave with US broadcaster National Public Radio (NPR). In it, the host asks: “We assume that you are who you say you are, but how can we be sure?” The interviewee responds: “Oh, you have no guarantee of that at all.” Banksy, known to hail from Bristol in southwest England, boasts an A-list client list and has sold his works for tens of millions of pounds at auction since achieving notoriety in the early 2000s.—AFP

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