Banksy Speaks? A 20-Year-Old Audio Interview With the Anonymous Artist Surfaces

The podcast series, The Banksy Story, will air the recording in a bonus episode.

Installation view of "Turf War" by Banksy, 2003. Photo: Alan Denney, courtesy of The Banksy Story.

After previously surfacing a three-minute clip of an interview with a man claiming to be Banksy, a podcast series will now air yet another rare recording that could contain the voice of the anonymous artist. 

A bonus episode of the Banksy Story on BBC Sounds, available November 21, will broadcast the full in-person interview from 2003, with someone calling themselves Banksy. Not heard since it first ran, the interview was conducted by Nigel Wrench, an arts correspondent for BBC, who spoke to the purported artist on the eve of “Turf War,” the first major Banksy exhibition, which took place in an east London warehouse over three days.  

In the conversation, the pair discussed topics from so-called “Brit Art” to whether graffiti should be categorized as vandalism.  

“If it’s done properly, it is illegal,” said the interviewee. “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 man also thumbed his nose at the art establishment, insisting he would “never knowingly sell anything to Charles Saatchi,” while decrying the British art scene as “not something that interests me.” 

“I’m more into art that’s voted for by people with their feet than I am into one millionaire judging you and telling people whether you’re ‘art’ or not,” he added. 

The Banksy Story on BBC Sounds. Photo courtesy of The Banksy Story.

Most tellingly, at the top of the dialogue, “Banksy” appears to verify his real name. When Wrench asked if he should use the artist’s real name, the interviewee simply replied, “Yeah.” 

“Is it Robert Banks?” Wrench followed up. 

“It’s Robbie,” the man said.  

The name Robert Banks or Robin Banks is one of many that have been put forward as Banksy’s identity over the years. Another theory has it that Robin Banks is actually another moniker used by Robin Gunningham, a Bristol man who is the leading candidate for being the true Banksy.  

Presented by “super-fan” James Peak, the Banksy Story is a 10-part series that traces the mysterious artist’s rise from the streets to the sales rooms of major auction houses, with intel from “a member of Banksy’s secret team.” The podcast includes a clip of another interview, which originally aired on NPR’s All Things Considered in 2005, said to feature Banksy’s actual voice. 

In it, Michele Norris, host of the radio show, asked the man: “We assume you are who you say you are, but how can we be sure?” 

“Oh,” he responded, “you have no guarantee of that at all.” 


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