Banksy Impersonator Is Making the Rounds in London

Banksy, Flower Thrower (2003).

Recent reports of Bansky sightings may be thanks to an impersonator. The British graffiti artist’s publicist, Jo Brooks, tells the Independent that Banksy has not been in Cumbria, the county in Northwest England where he was allegedly spotted twice this month.

In early January, a British schoolboy claimed to have been given a signed Banksy print after he helped the anonymous artist pick up his spray paint cans during a train ride (see Banksy Gives Artwork to Teenager on Train). After asking the boy if he knew of Robin Banks (another Banksy pseudonym), the mysterious stranger gave the youngster the artwork, saying “this will be worth about £20,000—have a good life, brother.”

About a week later, a man claiming to be Robin Banks admired some graffiti-style artwork in the restaurant Wild Zucchinis, calling it “funky.” Both men fit Banksy’s presumed profile of a white man in his late 40s with a refined British accent. Nevertheless, Brooks insisted to the Independent that “it isn’t true. I don’t know where it has come from, it is really strange.”

It’s not the first time that the art world has been taken in by a Banksy-related hoax. Last year, it was widely reported that the anonymous street artist had been arrested and unmasked—a story that was soon proven to be a fabrication from a satirical publication (see Has Banksy Been Arrested Outside London?).

In real Banksy news, an upcoming auction at Bonhams will offer a cache of the artist’s early works from the collection of his former agent, Steve Lazarides (see Steve Lazarides’s Banksy Collection to Hit Auction Block at Bonhams).

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