After extensive media speculation about the identity of the incredible and infamous street artist, The Atlantic’s CityLab have emerged with a very compelling reason why we still have no real idea who Banksy is.
And it’s not one that you might have given a second thought to.
The theory put forward in the upcoming HBO documentary Banksy Does New York is that the reason no-one has established the renowned artist’s identity is that they have been looking for a man, when in fact there are multiple reasons why the street artist could be a woman.
And here’s just a few.
1.) All of the multiple ‘Banksy hunters’ (including reporters from NY publications such as New York Daily News and The Village Voice) who tracked the street artist during his/her month-long residency in New York last October, were unsuccessful.
2.) When The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone met Banksy in a pub in Bristol, he was reluctant to place any definition upon the street artist’s gender: “Nobody here seems to know what he looks like. But they all know him. That is, they know of him. That is, if he is a he.”
3.) Women and girls feature heavily in Banksy’s stencilled work, something which CityLab remind us is, “something that isn’t true of 99 percent of street art.” Might it be because female visibility becomes more of an issue for females who experience its lack firsthand?
4.) Banksy doesn’t behave like other male street artists. CityLab remind us that one of the things that occurs frequently among male street artists is their constant self-reference. This is something that never occurs in the street artist’s work:
“Banksy’s work has always done more than project “Banksy” ad nauseum… (In fact, a “handling service” called Pest Control exists to authenticate Banksy’s protean projects.)
5.) Canadian media artist Chris Healey has insisted since 2010 that Banksy is a team of artists lead by a woman. CityLab speculate that this woman may in fact be one with long blonde hair who appears in Banksy’s alleged studio in a scene in Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Despite the artist’s sky high profile, Banksy’s identity (and gender for that matter) remains both unknown and officially unconfirmed.
And that after all, is half of the magic.