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Banksy uncovered?
July 13, 2008 5:03 PM   Subscribe

English newspaper Mail on Sunday claims to have uncovered the identity of artist Banksy claiming his name is Robin Gunningham: "People who know Gunningham are now unable to say what has become of him. His father Peter, who lives in Kingsdown, Bristol, denied that the man in the photograph was his son, and his mother Pamela was surprised by the picture, then denied she even had a son, let alone one called Robin." More information in a report from CBC. If you don't know who Banksy is visit a Flickr pool with over 7000 pictures of his work in situ or check out previous MetaFilter posts about Banksy.
posted by Kattullus (60 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
But have they managed to blame any of this on the Eastern Europeans?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:07 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Banksy is everyone. And no one. Or some such bla.
posted by pyrex at 5:07 PM on July 13, 2008


So, now that the mystery is gone, all he has left is the work? Uh oh.
posted by jack_mo at 5:12 PM on July 13, 2008 [10 favorites]


Oh, by the by, that Flickr pool is my favorite place to see work by Banksy. As far as I can tell it's photos taken by random people of work by Banksy. It really gives a flavor of what it's like to see his art in the field.
posted by Kattullus at 5:15 PM on July 13, 2008


Oh, and scanned from magazines (but usually when it is it's obvious).
posted by Kattullus at 5:18 PM on July 13, 2008


The man in the photograph, he insisted, was formerly known as Robin Gunningham - and it didn't require much imagination to work out how such a name could result in the nickname Banksy.

Oh really?
posted by smackfu at 5:22 PM on July 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


It really gives a flavor of what it's like to see his art in the field.

I think it actually looks better in reproduction, which is usually a really bad sign.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:25 PM on July 13, 2008


I am spartacus Banksy!
posted by Static Vagabond at 5:27 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now that I've actually bothered to RTFA, that does look like the guy who was supposed to be Banksy at the opening of his show with Jamie Read in Glasgow a few years back. (But then if I were Banksy, I'd probably have a random mate around to absorb the rumours at events like that...)
posted by jack_mo at 5:30 PM on July 13, 2008


Banksy is a square sunglass wearing twat from a public school. I am shocked to my very core.
posted by fire&wings at 5:31 PM on July 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


Jamie Reid, that is.
posted by jack_mo at 5:31 PM on July 13, 2008


And here I was hoping against hope 2008 was going to be gloriously Banksy-free here on the blue. Feh.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:35 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice headline:

Banksy unmasked as middle-class Bristol suburbanite
posted by R. Mutt at 5:39 PM on July 13, 2008


Is the flower in Bethnal Green still there? I've been meaning to go take a look at it for about 9 months now, and I hope it is. It's at least one thing he's done that to me smacks of brilliance. Based on my cursory knowledge of his work, that is. Right near my flat is another one of his pieces, now under plexigalss, on Essex Road, and it really doesn't look like much anymore. The plexiglass causes condensation to build up so it's obscured and hard to see. Ironically.
posted by Flashman at 5:41 PM on July 13, 2008


Banksy's Flower in Bethnal Green. The "self portait" in the Mail on Sunday article is a detail from that.
posted by Kattullus at 5:47 PM on July 13, 2008


Metafilter - Unmasked as middle-class Bristol suburbanite.
posted by stokast at 5:48 PM on July 13, 2008


Before
After

Also, the flower in Bethnal Green now. Fuckers.
posted by Flashman at 5:50 PM on July 13, 2008


DC Graffiti artist BORF was another middle class kid going to an expensive private art school.
posted by empath at 5:52 PM on July 13, 2008


Clearly, his mistake was in not "gifting" the underpaid and overworked Mail reporters a work of art.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:54 PM on July 13, 2008


I really hope this isn't true.
posted by Muffpub at 6:09 PM on July 13, 2008


I really hope this isn't true.

Why?
posted by delmoi at 6:23 PM on July 13, 2008


I love the fact that "public school" in Britain means basically the same as "private school" in the US.
posted by Slothrup at 6:23 PM on July 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Speaking of which, what do they call "public schools" in the U.K?
posted by delmoi at 6:31 PM on July 13, 2008


I love the way that having attended private school automatically deprives any artist or popular musician in the UK of any credibility whatsoever. Or at least makes them fight for it.
posted by jokeefe at 6:39 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The man in the photograph, he insisted, was formerly known as Robin Gunningham - and it didn't require much imagination to work out how such a name could result in the nickname Banksy.

Yeah, somebody wanna help me out here? Is there some codebook for cute-british nicknames?
posted by neustile at 6:43 PM on July 13, 2008


Graffiti Blue.

I name this post Fine Art Blue. At its heart, it is an oxymoron.
posted by humannaire at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2008


I am Spartacus Banksy...
posted by vertigo25 at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2008


I like banksy ok.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:50 PM on July 13, 2008


the real surprise for me is that for all this time i've been reading his name as bansky.
posted by jessssse at 6:56 PM on July 13, 2008


I'm jealous ofbetter than Banksy.
posted by DU at 6:56 PM on July 13, 2008


Yeah, somebody wanna help me out here? Is there some codebook for cute-british nicknames?

It's shabby newspaper oversimplification. "Robin Banks" is a pun name (a play on "Robbin' banks") dating at least to the 70's, probably much earlier-- Robin Crocker, former Clash roadie and subject of the Mick Jones opus "Stay Free" used it as a pseudonym in punk rock 'zines in the 70's.

So really, all that you could deduce from the nickname "Banksy" is that it might come from someone who went by the abused "Robin Banks" and that person probably had the real first name "Robin" to have that cliche thrust upon them. But to a hack writer, it's obvious in hindsight.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:18 PM on July 13, 2008


Robin Banks-y?
posted by jeffmik at 7:21 PM on July 13, 2008


Why does it matter where he grew up or went to school? He can't really help that, can he? All that matters to me is the quality of the artwork ... which is really, really high IMO. So what if part of his story is boring, the work speaks for itself.
posted by chinese_fashion at 7:59 PM on July 13, 2008


I don't really care who he is. I like his stuff though.
posted by Arturus at 8:08 PM on July 13, 2008


Speaking of which, what do they call "public schools" in the U.K?

State schools.
posted by ericb at 8:37 PM on July 13, 2008


I love how haters think street artists are supposed to be magical homeless people that, despite a life deprived of money and education, travel the world giving art away for free, anonymously.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 8:38 PM on July 13, 2008 [10 favorites]


George Michael Wants to be Targeted by Street Artist Banksy.
posted by ericb at 8:43 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, by the by, that Flickr pool is my favorite place to see work by Banksy. As far as I can tell it's photos taken by random people of work by Banksy. It really gives a flavor of what it's like to see his art in the field.

Self-link: Here are mine; minor-league trespassing was involved.
posted by the_bone at 8:43 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


May 9, 2008: Are street artists Banksy and Nick Walker one and the same? That's what some people are saying*

June 5, 2008: Banksy: the Michelangelo of graffiti?

June 13, 2008: An interview with Banksy?
posted by ericb at 8:53 PM on July 13, 2008


Against my own best, cynical, instincts, I love this guy's work. Forget the whole mystique thing, the art speaks for itself. This is just tremendous.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:11 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


There's a Banksy in Melbourne that was covered by plexiglass presumably to prevent it from disappearing, and some wag had affixed a small cardboard to it saying " is it art if it's behind glass?"
posted by dhruva at 10:05 PM on July 13, 2008


This! Is. Spartacus! Banksy!
posted by zippy at 10:29 PM on July 13, 2008


Ignore anything the Daily Mail says.
posted by gene_machine at 12:25 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Mail on Sunday. You can make an exception for their review of my book.
posted by gene_machine at 12:26 AM on July 14, 2008


Banksy unmasked as middle-class Bristol suburbanite

Next they'll be trying to tell me Tim Westwood isn't actually black.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:48 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why does it matter where he grew up or went to school? He can't really help that, can he?
This should be the case, but he has made a big deal about his tough upbringing in the rougher parts of Bristol (Hartcliffe), riots and all, so he's made his own bed here.
posted by Abiezer at 12:52 AM on July 14, 2008


I like Banksy's work. Before he was feted by the masses I bought a print of his Golf Sale picture for a measly 35 squid and had it framed. I remember at the time thinking it was silly paying 75 quid for framing for a picture worth half that. Then I gave it to my brother.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the print is now worth about a grand. And while I'm glad my brother has a nice picture, I'm gutted I didn't buy myself a copy as I liked it too (and collect pictures).
posted by MuffinMan at 5:21 AM on July 14, 2008


Why does it matter where he grew up or went to school? He can't really help that, can he?

As an American (a Californian even!) who has recently moved to the UK, I can tell you that thats a very "American" question to ask and one that Brits undoubtedly perceive as naive.
posted by vacapinta at 6:02 AM on July 14, 2008


As an American (a Californian even!) who has recently moved to the UK, I can tell you that thats a very "American" question to ask and one that Brits undoubtedly perceive as naive.

They also think it is very American to expect toilets to flush properly.
posted by srboisvert at 6:28 AM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


One for all those "haters" who find banksy over-hyped and over-done.
posted by rhymer at 7:05 AM on July 14, 2008


"Coz Banksy's an anarchalist what don't respect no law, innit?"

If you're middle-class you're a poseur and if you're working class you're a dumb brute. Man, the English class society has got you pegged whatever you do.
posted by Kattullus at 7:22 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought this came out ages ok? I've certainly seen that photo before
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2008


damn, ok/ago...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:15 AM on July 14, 2008


The picture was taken about 4 years ago by Peter Dean Rickards from the Afflicted Yard , who apparently took a dislike to Banksy as he swanned about Jamaica, kind of like a public schoolboy might, in retrospect, but it is only recently that the Heil on Sunday decided to swan about Bristol pic in hand trying to find someone to ID it. Seems like they got him though.

Typical, you have to go to a public school even to be a graffiti artist nowadays
posted by criticalbill at 11:17 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


And I love Charlie Brooker, or at least I like him, but he's wrong in that piece
posted by criticalbill at 11:18 AM on July 14, 2008


Hey, any Brits out there still reading this thread? Here's a question. The Daily Mail story says:

"The man in the photograph, he insisted, was formerly known as Robin Gunningham - and it didn't require much imagination to work out how such a name could result in the nickname Banksy."

I assume my apparent lack of imagination is due to the fact that I'm not from the UK? What do they mean? I can't see the connection "Robin Gunningham" and "Banksy" at all, and I'm a pun king.
posted by TheWash at 11:52 AM on July 14, 2008


TheWash: See above.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:02 PM on July 14, 2008


Ah! So "Gunningham" was a red herring. Seems like the Daily Mail writer could have written that sentence better.
posted by TheWash at 12:17 PM on July 14, 2008


I think there's probably more than one Banksy.

That, or the guy is insanely prolific.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:15 PM on July 14, 2008


I am really late to this thread, but

"May 9, 2008: Are street artists Banksy and Nick Walker one and the same? That's what some people are saying*"

made me laugh my ass off. If you can't tell the difference between their work, you should give up whatever quest you're on to find out his real identity.
posted by saturnine at 1:58 PM on July 19, 2008


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