The BBC has uncovered a long-lost interview with street artist Banksy, in which he reveals his true name. In a 2003 recording, Nigel Wrench, a former BBC correspondent, asked the artist if his name is ‘Robert Banks’, and Banksy replied: ‘Robbie’. There has been much speculation on social media about whether his name is Robin, Robert or Robbie. However, the interview gives fans of the secretive artist a rare opportunity to hear his voice and learn more about his approach to art.
Wrench interviewed Banksy at the opening of his Turf War show in East London in the summer of 2003. An edited version of the interview was broadcast on the BBC’s PM programme in July of that year, but much of it was not used. Years later, Wrench listened to ‘The Banksy Story’ podcast and decided to record the entire interview on a minidisc at home. Never-before-seen material from this interview reveals how Banksy defends vandalism as art and explains why he takes this approach to creating art.
When asked if graffiti was vandalism and whether he considered it illegal, Banksy said: “Get out! Throw things in the trash! Have fun!” This interview provides insight into why this artist has been intriguing people for years with his satirical works that often carry anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-establishment or libertarian messages. While there has never been any confirmation about who he really is or where he comes from, people will continue to be fascinated by his work for years to come.