It’s a potentially massive clue.
After two decades of anonymity, street artist Banksy’s real name – at least his first name – may have just been leaked by British drum n’ bass artist DJ Goldie.
Appearing on Scroobius Pip’s weekly Distraction Pieces podcast, Goldie was apparently discussing the commodification of street art when he made the gaffe.
“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,” Goldie said on the podcast aired in late June. “No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over.”
It didn’t take long for Banksy sleuths to posit that Goldie was referring to Robert Del Naja, a friend of Goldie’s and a founding member of UK trip hop band, Massive Attack.
Although we reported last year that scientists had revealed Banksy as Robin Gunningham, people have long suspected that Del Naja is the elusive street artist.
The evidence for Del Naja is pretty compelling and has been laid out by The Independent.
Del Naja comes from Bristol, where Banksy’s work first started to appear. Del Naja, whose stage name is 3D, is also a visual artist who began his career is a graffiti artist.
Since Bansky and Del Naja are both artists from the Bristol scene, it is perhaps unsurprising that they claim to be friends. But in an intro to the book ‘3D and the Art of Massive Attack’, Banksy alluded to the fact that 3D had influenced him. And when Banksy’s fake theme park “Dismaland” opened, Massive Attack was going to play but cancelled at the last minute.
— The Vinyl Factory (@TheVinylFactory) September 2, 2016
Most interesting of all is the detective work by journalist Craig Williams. In a blog post from last year, Williams found a correlation between Bansky murals and Massive Attack tour dates.
An investigator plotted Banksy’s graffiti on a map and concluded it's a group of artists led by Massive Attack star https://t.co/wn2e40tqac
— Dave Nyczepir ? (@DaveNyczepir) September 2, 2016
Soon after the podcast aired, Goldie took to Twitter claiming that it was all a laugh. But was he merely trying to cover up his slip of the tongue?
Just on the phone with #3d rolling around fucking pissing our pants ???❤
— GOLDIE (@MRGOLDIE) June 23, 2017
Williams concluded his investigation by asserting that Banksy is actually a group that follows Massive Attack on tour. Given the global scope and amount of Banky’s output, a group does seem likely.
But maybe we should just leave the question of Banksy’s identity alone. In the age of the internet – when we Google the answer to anything – isn’t it nice that there is still some mystery in this world?