A Twist in the Tale: Who is the real Banksy?

Ben Broyd
3 min readNov 4, 2021

The real identity of Banksy has been a topic of discussion that has lasted ever since the Bristolian-based artist created ‘The Mild Mild West’ in 1997 to cover advertising of a former solicitors’ office on Stokes Croft in Bristol, with the curiosity being prevalent ever since. Many have suggested that Banksy is actually a group of artists operating under one name, but perhaps not?

In 2010, rumours began to circulate that Banksy murals popping up across North America were created by Robert Del Naja, the visual artist and frontman of the sensational trip-hop band, Massive Attack. Everything seemed to point towards Del Naja being the elusive artist as murals began to emerge in cities coinciding with the band’s tour schedules.

To add further fuel to the fire, Del Naja, like Banksy, creates his own art with stencil, with Del Naja’s artworks, which have appeared on all the band’s album covers sharing extremely certain graphic similarities with Banksy’s murals. However, it was Goldie, the drum and bass legend, who dropped the hottest hint suggesting that the mysterious artist is the Massive Attack frontman.

In 2016, talking to journalist Craig Williams, Goldie, who was talking about changing the face of graffiti 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 (Del Naja), I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over.”

Most recently, on the second of November, Massive Attack auctioned two limited-edition Banksy prints, raising over £140,000 to help vulnerable people in Bristol and Malawi. Malawi charity Temwa lost out on a £250,000 grant earlier this year after the UK government cut its funding, leaving them in desperate need of funds to continue their life-saving work.

Massive Attack’s Grant ‘Daddy G’ Marshall said in a statement about the auction listings: “Selling the Banksy prints via the Vanguard charity auction seemed an easy way to help raise some urgent funds needed”.

Ben Broyd

I write about music, amongst other things. Hope you enjoy.