Banksy gives glimpse of his face in ‘very rare’ interview unearthed from 16 years ago – The Sun

THE graffiti artist known as Banksy has given a glimpse of himself in an unearthed TV interview from 16 years ago.

The footage was filmed in 2003 ahead of his Turf War exhibition but then lay in a vault for nearly two decades.

He is seen stencilling a black insect on to a wall and painting a picture of a baby with blocks spelling "KILL MORE".

Both pieces have long been attributed to Banksy.

The two-minute report, by ITV News correspondent Haig Gordon, features the artist speaking for 35 seconds.

He is wearing a baseball cap and has a T-shirt pulled over his lower face, but his eyes, eyebrows and forehead are visible.

"I'm disguised because you can't really be a graffiti writer and then go public," he tells Gordon, who has since retired.

"The two things don't quite go together."

The report was discovered by Bristol-based ITV News correspondent Robert Murphy, who recently filmed Banksy's Devolved Parliament going on display at Bristol Museum.


After that report, Murphy looked into the ITV archives and was amazed to find a library entry with the catalogue listing "Interview with Banksy".

He requested the archive tape, which has now been transferred to a digital file, from the London vaults.

Murphy then contacted Gordon, who had forgotten that he interviewed Banksy ahead of the Turf War exhibition in Dalston, north-east London, in July 2003.

"I saw his face. The only problem is I can't remember what his face looked like," he told ITV News.

"I don't think I could say a single thing about what he looked like. Isn't that dreadful?

"He was relaxed, he was laid-back, he was amiable. I quite took to him. I was dreading a pretentious arty-farty type, but he was very pleasant.

"He reacted very well when I made a joke just before the camera was rolling.

"I said 'Right, Banksy, what will you do if I take that (the T-shirt) off during the interview?' and he just laughed, he knew I wasn't meaning it.

"But I wish I had, because that would have been extremely valuable."

Gordon continued: "I have no evidence on which to make an assessment on whether this was the real Banksy or not.

He was relaxed, he was laid-back, he was amiable. I quite took to him. I was dreading a pretentious arty-farty type, but he was very pleasant

"But it seemed like an organised event. The press officer seemed like a normal press officer who wouldn't be playing a trick on the media.

"We got the footage of him doing things without a disguise and we had a conversation without the disguise."

In his film Exit Through The Giftshop, Banksy is filmed as a hooded silhouette and his voice is distorted.

The voice is muffled in the ITV footage, due to the grey T-shirt over his nose and mouth.

He wears a blue and white cap and a beige hooded coat.

Turf War saw Banksy decorate live farm animals, with sheep painted as blue zebra, cattle with "This way up" arrows and stencilled blue police patrol car colours on pigs.

"It's hard to make an entertaining picture at the best of times but at least if you have something that wanders around and licks its nose and urinates in front of you it's going to make the picture a bit more interesting," the interviewee tells Gordon.

Asked about spraying "Designated Riot Area" on Nelson's Column, the man tells the journalist: "I thought that was quite funny."

Names in the frame – who is Bansky?

Robin Gunningham

Bristol artist Robin Gunningham was thought to be Banksy after criminologists at London’s Queen Mary University used ‘geographic profiling’ in an attempt to reveal his identity.

The technique uses statistical analysis used in police work to locate repeat offenders.

The researchers looked for signs of correlation between 140 artworks in London and Bristol that have been attributed to Bansky, finding stylistic similarities between the two.

3D – Robert Del Naja

Drum and bass star Goldie is thought to have revealed Banksy’s identity as the Massive Attack star known as 3D in an interview in 2017.

The band’s founding member and Goldie have been friends for a long time and were both graffiti artists in the late 1980s.

In an interview with spoken word poet Scroobius Pip for a podcast Del Naja said: "Give me a bubble letter and put it on a t-shirt and write 'Banksy' on it and we're sorted. We can sell it now.

"No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over."

Journalist Craig Williams had previously carried out an investigation into Banksy and concluded that Banksy was not just one person but a team of street artists with Del Naja, 52, as the ringleader.

Del Naja has occasionally designed the artwork for Massive Attack’s albums, including 2010’s Heligoland which featured stencil art not dissimilar to Banksy’s style.

Del Naja though as denied the rumour saying it was “greatly exaggerated”.

Richard Pfeiffer

The New York spraypainter Pfeiffer was spotted in front of a mural done by Banksy in March 2015 and was accused of being the famous artist by the cops.

Thierry Guetta

The French graffiti artist living in Los Angeles, who is also known as Mr Brainwash, is seen in Banksy's documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.

The film tells the story of Guetta and his obsession with documenting his life on film.

Some though think Guetta and Banksy are the same person.

The notion it is Guetta springs from the idea that the hapless artist was only feigning mediocrity in the film and it was really Banksy hiding in plain sight.

Graffiti artist in Australia

YouTube user Mia S claimed she had caught Banksy in the act after believing she had filmed the artist in Melbourne, Australia.

The footage shows a bespectacled man in jeans, a dark jacket, hoodie and a cap.

She approaches the graffiti artist before he tells her to “f**k off” and flees the scene.

Gordon asks: "You don't mind if I pass your details on to the police?"

He replies: "No. What details have you got?"

Richard Jones is a director of Tangent Books, which has published several books about Banksy and Bristol street art.

He described the footage as "really unusual" and "very, very rare".

"His anonymity is something which is very, very important to him," Mr Jones said.

"I often wonder what it must be like living your life anonymously.

"It must be so strange, going through layers of hiding your identity.

"I wonder how he feels about being the most famous current artist in the world but nobody knowing who he is apart from a small group of people."

Banksy has used teams of people to create larger exhibitions such his dystopian theme park Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare in 2015 and Banksy versus Bristol Museum in 2009.

I saw his face. The only problem is I can't remember what his face looked like

It is not known whether he was the sole artist for Turf War.

Murphy said the interview showed "several things" that had not previously been seen in relation to Banksy.

"Firstly, we have an artist purporting to be 'Banksy' creating art at an official Banksy exhibition," he said.

"Secondly, this man is interviewed and we see more of his face than we have ever seen before.

"Thirdly, we hear his voice. It is mumbly and muffled but he's clearly a very funny chap.

"We simply don't know for sure if this is Banksy. But here, for the first – and last – time, is someone put up for interview at an official show.

"That hasn't happened before or afterwards, which makes this interview and Haig's report so extraordinary and rare."

Murphy said that, at other events, Banksy creates the artworks and "slips back to the shadows" – letting his pieces speak for themselves.

He insisted that ITV was not trying to expose Banksy or reveal his real name.

"What we are saying is 'There was this event back in 2003, Banksy willingly gave ITV News an interview, he wanted the publicity, it's been forgotten, now it's found and here it is'," Murphy said.

"People can make up their own minds."

A spokeswoman for Banksy declined to comment.

The video will be available to watch on ITV News West Country's digital channels on Thursday evening.

It will be broadcast on ITV New West Country at 6pm.

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