7 Facts About Banksy

There's more to this elusive artist than you might expect!

By Google Arts & Culture

Mural by Banksy by BanksyGlobal Street Art Foundation

Cider with Banksy

The street artist known only as Banksy is notoriously private. Only a small circle know his real identity, and they're sworn to secrecy. If you're trying to track him down, then start in Bristol, in the West Country of England - where he first made his name. He's elusive, but here are a few things we do know...

Mural by Banksy by BanksyGlobal Street Art Foundation

1. He was first interviewed in 2003

In 2003, as his fame was increasing, Simon Hattenstone met someone claiming to be Banksy for an interview in a London pub. Hattenstone described him as 'a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of The Streets'.

Mural by Banksy by BanksyGlobal Street Art Foundation

2. He was nominated for an Oscar

Banksy's film Exit through the gift shop was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2010 Academy Awards. He requested that he turn up in disguise, unfortunately he was turned down. In the end, the award went to  Charles Ferguson's Inside Job.

Mural by Banksy by BanksyGlobal Street Art Foundation

3. His fame ranked alongside Obama and Steve Jobs

That same year Banksy was named alongside Barack Obama and Steve Jobs as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. He had to offer a photograph for the feature, and sent in an iconic image of himself wearing a paper bag over his head.

Mural by Banksy by BanksyGlobal Street Art Foundation

4. Step right up and be abused!

In 2015 Banksy opened Dismaland, an ironic theme park on the outskirts of Weston-super-Mare. The food was rubbish, the staff were useless, the rides were dismal - they even had daily riots - and everyone loved it!

5. From the streets to the galleries to the auction houses..

It used to be that you could only see Banksy's work on the streets. Then, he started hanging his work illicitly in galleries around the world, including the Louvre. These days, it's bought and sold for millions, and it's hard not to find it hung up, pride of place.

Mural by Banksy by BanksyGlobal Street Art Foundation

6. His name is…

… a bit of a mystery, but over the years many suspects have been suggested: Robert Del Naja of the band Massive Attack, Thierry Guetta, the star of Exit Through the Gift Shop, and notable Bristolian street artist Robin Gunningham. But who really knows?!

7. We'll probably never catch up with him

Well, we're back where we started. It seems like Banksy has led us on a wild goose chase - or should that be rat race? While you're here, take a look around the city and try and spot some of his most famous works.

Mural by Banksy by BanksyGlobal Street Art Foundation

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