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Who is Banksy? Everything we know about his identity

A piece of art on the side of a building in north London was done by Banksy, the street artist has confirmed.

The elusive artist said he is behind the artwork on Hornsey Road, Finsbury Park, where a mass of green was painted over the weekend on a wall behind a real cut back tree to make it look like it has foliage.

The mural also features a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose along the bottom of the newly painted side of the building.

Banksy confirmed on Monday that the artwork is his through a post on his Instagram account.

One user of X, formerly Twitter, Amy, who lives in the building, posted an image of the wall with the caption: “Proud new caretakers of an apparent new #Banksy piece in Finsbury Park. Woke up this morning to it on the side of flat.”

Members of the public look at a new piece of art work, which has appeared on the side of a building on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, London, and is suspected of being by street artist Banksy. Picture date: Monday March 18, 2024.Members of the public look at a new piece of art work, which has appeared on the side of a building on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, London, and is suspected of being by street artist Banksy. Picture date: Monday March 18, 2024.

Members of the public look at a new piece of artwork on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, London, by street artist Banksy. (PA)

A new piece of art work, which has appeared on the side of a building on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, London, is suspected of being by street artist Banksy. Picture date: Monday March 18, 2024.A new piece of art work, which has appeared on the side of a building on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, London, is suspected of being by street artist Banksy. Picture date: Monday March 18, 2024.

The artwork was painted on a building on Hornsey Road in Finsbury Park, London. (PA)

Wanja Sellers, a Hornsey Road resident who lives a few doors down from the mural, said: “We’re so proud and delighted that Banksy chose our road and chose Finsbury Park for his work.

“The bright green colours represent Islington which is lovely and also, of course, St Patrick’s Day which is nice and festive.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “delighted” to see the artwork in his Islington North constituency. He added: “Banksy’s come to Finsbury Park with a bit of greenery in a place that needs a bit more greenery. We’re the most densely populated constituency in the country and I’m just delighted.”

Alex Georgiou, whose company owns the building with the mural on, said: “It’s quite mad to be honest, to come down here and just to see all the crowds of people looking at the building.

“The question is, what do I do with it now? What am I meant to do with it now? I definitely plan on keeping it on there and letting people enjoy it, everyone’s loving it which is great, I just can’t really believe it still to be honest,” he said.

Georgiou said there was not currently anyone living in the building, which was on the lettings market. He joked that he might be able to increase the price of the property, but later clarified he would not be looking to profit from the artwork unless a Banksy “superfan” wanted to buy the whole building.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - March 18: Former Labour Party politician Jeremy Corbyn (R) poses next to a new tree mural artwork appeared on a building that has been confirmed to be the work of the artist Banksy at Finsbury Park in London, United Kingdom on March 18, 2024. The artwork has been painted in front of a cut down tree to look like green foliage also matching the green used by Islington Council for signs. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - March 18: Former Labour Party politician Jeremy Corbyn (R) poses next to a new tree mural artwork appeared on a building that has been confirmed to be the work of the artist Banksy at Finsbury Park in London, United Kingdom on March 18, 2024. The artwork has been painted in front of a cut down tree to look like green foliage also matching the green used by Islington Council for signs. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Former Labour Party leader and MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn, poses for a selfie by the mural. (Getty Images)

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAR 18, 2024 - A 'Banksy' artwork framed by a tree, on the side of a building in north London. (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Future Publishing via Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAR 18, 2024 - A 'Banksy' artwork framed by a tree, on the side of a building in north London. (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

It is understood Islington Council does not intend to remove the mural. (Getty Images)

It is understood that Islington Council’s graffiti removal team is aware of the artwork and will not remove it.

Councillor Roulin Khondoker, executive member for equalities, culture and inclusion, said in a statement that as a borough that “celebrates creativity”, it welcomes Banksy’s “fantastic piece”.

It is understood that the cherry tree in front of the artwork is around 40 to 50-years-old and in declining health. The council’s tree service had been maintaining it for some time to help prolong its lifespan and would continue to try to keep the decaying tree alive.

Last November, it emerged that Banksy revealed his real name in a newly unearthed BBC interview from 2003.

Former BBC reporter Nigel Wrench interviewed the renowned street artist ahead of the 2003 Turf War show in East London, where he was heard confirming his first name.

Wrench asked Banksy if he could include his real name in the interview, asking the artist if he is called Robert Banks, in which he replied “ It’s Robbie.”

The elusive artist’s real identity has never been officially revealed but a 2008 interview sheds light on who the real Bansky is.The elusive artist’s real identity has never been officially revealed but a 2008 interview sheds light on who the real Bansky is.

The elusive artist’s real identity has never been officially revealed but a 2003 interview sheds light on who the real Bansky is. (BBC)

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Banksy's has become famous for his distinctive street art. (Getty)Banksy's has become famous for his distinctive street art. (Getty)

Banksy has become famous for his distinctive street art. (Getty)

Banksy has been linked The Crown pub in Somerset. (Getty and SWNS)Banksy has been linked The Crown pub in Somerset. (Getty and SWNS)

Banksy has been linked The Crown pub in Somerset. (Getty and SWNS)

Has Banksy’s identity ever been revealed?

Over the years, there have been various theories and claims about Banksy’s identity, but none have been confirmed.

Banksy’s intentional anonymity allowed him to operate without facing legal repercussions for his often unauthorised street art, which can be considered vandalism in some jurisdictions.

It also allowed him to operate however he pleases without fear of being followed by fans or the media.

Read more: Banksy artwork sold at auction for three times estimate by band who changed name for piece

Banky does not support the sale of his art. (Getty)Banky does not support the sale of his art. (Getty)

Banksy does not support the sale of his art. (Getty)

Many have tried to guess who the artist is and the general assumption is he lives in or near Bristol, but other than that very little was known about him.

In the recording of The Banksy Story (available on BBC Radio 4), he described himself as a “painter and decorator” and explaining why he likes to glue works of art to buildings like the Louvre, saying: “You don’t want to get stuck in the same line of work your whole life long, do you?”

The podcast was the latest clue as to the identity of the elusive artist, after a village pub near Glastonbury was rumoured to have been bought by him and refurbished to the tune of £1m.

At the time Owain Powell, who runs the The Crown in Pilton, Somerset, with partner Rowena Draper, denied Banksy’s involvement.

What is Banksy’s real name and how has he remained anonymous?

According to the recording his real name is Robert Banks, but since emerging to the scene in the early 1990s, he has always chosen to keep his identity a mystery- often wearing masks in the rare interviews he does.

He also never reveals the place he will be doing his next artwork, which is often only noticed after members of the public circulate them on social media.

How does Banksy make money?

Banksy generates income through various means, despite his anonymous persona and unconventional approach.

Part of his persona even rejects the concept of “commercial success” and has in the past encouraged people not to buy his work.

Speaking to Village Voice in 2013, the artist said: “Graffiti art has a hard enough life as it is, before you add hedge-fund managers wanting to chop it out and hang it over the fireplace.

“For the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs, I’d encourage people not to buy anything by anybody, unless it was created for sale in the first place.”

Despite this, he has still likely made a significant sum of money from his work.

Read more: Art fan who pushed Banksy to make a piece in Herne Bay ‘heartbroken’ after work destroyed by builders

Banky's satirical graffiti has become famous across the world. (Getty)Banky's satirical graffiti has become famous across the world. (Getty)

Banky’s satirical graffiti has become famous across the world. (Getty)

He has published several books in his time, including best-seller Wall and Piece and likely generates royalties from that.

Banksy has also directed an award-winning documentary called Exit Through The Gift Shop, exploring modern and underground art, which generated more than £3m in profit.

On occasion, Banksy has offered the purchase of some of his art through Pest Control, which is the only way he approves of its sale.

His recent Cut & Run exhibition in Glasgow, attracted about 180,000 visitors, during its 10-week show – his first solo show in 14 years.

Where is Banksy from and how much is he worth?

Although it is hard to know where an anonymous artist is from he rose to fame in the early 1990s with spray-painted murals on walls in Bristol and has stayed connected to it ever since.

The latest Mail report suggests that Banksy is Bristol-born, 53-year-old and public school-educated.

Banksy’s art is all over the world in London, New York City, Paris, Bethlehem and elsewhere.

It is difficult to guess how much the artist is worth, but his creations are estimated to be worth nearly £40m.

Read more: Banksy giant seagull mural ‘worth millions’ removed from house

'The Armed Dove' street art by Banksy near the Israeli separation West Bank Wall in Bethlehem. (Getty)'The Armed Dove' street art by Banksy near the Israeli separation West Bank Wall in Bethlehem. (Getty)

‘The Armed Dove’ street art by Banksy near the Israeli separation West Bank Wall in Bethlehem. (Getty)

However, this valuation is based on the sale of his art which he has not condoned, and the profits usually go to the people who owned the site where the art was located.

Some of the profits of Banksy’s art may have made its way back to him but no one knows for sure.

Is Banksy married?

Although never revealed publicly, Banksy fans have identified Joy Millward, who runs a lobby group that campaigns on behalf of charities, as a potential candidate for his wife.

She is married to Robin Gunningham, who has several times been named as the most likely person to be Banksy, including the latest report.

Millward and Gunningham maintain an extremely private life and very little is known about them.

Whether this is a personal choice, or because they are sick of the speculation around supposedly being Banksy and Banksy’s wife or if Gunningham is in fact Banksy, we may never know.

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