Who are Banksy? Scientists may have solved this mystery

Who are Banksy? Scientists may have solved this mystery
5 min read
14 September 2022

Banksy, an elusive street artist, has kept his identity secret. But scientists have now discovered a way to track him down using a technique that was used to capture serial criminals.

Geographic profiling is a technique that allows researchers at the Queen Mary University of London to pinpoint the locations of Banksy.

The Bristol Post explains that it is a technique that "uses spatial locations of crime to make inferences regarding the criminal's anchor point - usually a house or workplace".

To find "hot spots", the team searched for the locations of over 100 of Banksy's alleged works, including three addresses in London and one pub.

Robin Gunningham was the person associated with many of these locations.

Gizmodo says that Gunningham has been suspected to be Banksy since 2008. "Banksy is not amused; it's obvious."

The site also pointed out that the method used was "extremely imprecise" as it only uses suspected Banksy artworks and does not include outliers in the data.

Steve Le Comber was a fan of Banksy and led the research.

Here are some theories and other key Banksy sightings as the mystery continues

Banksy meets The Guardian 2003: Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian's only journalist to have ever met Banksy, was there? The artist was described by Hattenstone as white, 28-year-old, scruffy casual, with jeans, a T-shirt and silver teeth, silver chain, and silver earrings. He [Banksy] is a mix of Mike Skinner and Jimmy Nail.

Banksy in Bethnal Green 2007: A passerby, "familiar" with Banksy's work, snapped at Banksy and his assistant while they painted a mural at Bethnal Green in east London. According to The BBC, the picture could show the reclusive artist at his work.

Banksy is a "nice middle-class boy", 2008: The Mail published a sharp image of a smiling, curly-haired man who claimed to be Banksy on Sunday. According to the paper, his real name was Robin Gunningham. He also attended the PS9,240-a-year Bristol Cathedral School. The Mail said that fans of the artist's anti-establishment stance would be shocked to discover his true identity.

Banksy's self-portrait proves his identity, 2009: The Mail on Sunday was pleased to see a Banksy "self-portrait" on an east London office block. The image was almost identical to Gunningham's Mail on Sunday picture. The paper acknowledged that another person might have made the graffiti art. "But evidence from a Mail on Sunday investigation indicates that Banksy is Robin Gunningham. He has also coyly acknowledged that he was unmasking."

Unmasked Mrs Banksy, 2010: The woman seated in front of a computer looks like "just another young professional", according to the Daily Mail. Joy Millward is the "very secretive wife" of Banksy. Millward is a parliamentary lobbyist and is married to Robin Gunningham. She declined to comment.

Banksy attends the Playboy Club 2011: Did Banksy wear a vicar's costume and a skull mask for a celebrity bash at London's Playboy Club in Mayfair? Digital Spy was not so certain.

Banksy in Santa Monica, 2012, unmasked. Another out-of-focus, grainy picture was taken in Los Angeles. It depicts a man in a green baseball cap who, according to the Daily Mail, has just written the words "This Looks a Bit like an Elephant" on a container close to a busy motorway.

Banksy, New York, 2013, This is one of the latest photos that allegedly unmasks the millionaire street artist. It was taken in New York last October. The picture shows a gaunt-looking man in a flat cap and "paint-splattered overalls". One of the stencil artists' fans took the snap as a truck was being used to display his artwork. The truck was parked on a Manhattan street. The man in the cap "sprung into action" after a battery died and the lights that illuminated the image of a lush green garden went out. The Daily Mirror reported many men at the scene, but the man in the cap "stood out" from the rest.

Banksy is a female

One common theory is that "he" is a "she". Kriston Capps, the CityLab writer, believes there is no evidence to support the "flimsy theory" that Banksy is a male. This is most likely a form of "misdirection" by Banksy herself. He says that Banksy's stencilled figures include men and women, which is not the case for 99 per cent of street art.

Canadian media artist Chris Healey maintains that Banksy is a group of seven artists under a woman's leadership since 2010, although he refuses to reveal his source.

Is it possible to continue the quest for Banksy's unmasking? Salon believes not. It says, "It is inevitably more fun to imagine some masked Warhol biting at the mainstream art industry and taking the mystique associated with an anonymous graffiti tag until its inevitable conclusion." "Banksy is everywhere at once."

Recommended to read: Elizabeth Jasso

Anoop Maurya 7
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