Banksy could be forced to reveal his real name in court

Banksy could be forced to reveal his real name if a legal tussle over the authenticity of one of his prints winds up in court. 

Two art collectors are taking legal action against the secretive artist’s company Pest Control, saying that the organisation has refused to confirm the authenticity of the piece Monkey Queen, in which a jewelled primate wears a royal crown against a red, white and blue backdrop. 

Nicky Katz and Ray Howse claim that they have pursued Pest Control for three years to secure the official confirmation that the piece was made by Banksy, without which its value would be substantially undermined. 


If the dispute were to make it to court, the artist could be forced to disclose his real identity. 

Banksy’s 2003 Turf War show. Credit: Alan Denney/BBC Sounds

Speculation about the graffiti artist’s real name has been rife ever since he first rose to prominence in the early 2000s, with Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja and Gorillaz’ Jamie Hewlett often being put in the frame. 

However, late last year, a long-lost interview that the artist did with the BBC seemed to uncover new information. 

A recording emerged of an interview that Banksy conducted in 2003, but which was never released. In it, he appeared to confirm that his first name is Robbie. 

Broadcast for the first time on BBC Radio 4’s The Banksy Story last November, the original interview saw the artist speaking with the former BBC arts correspondent Nigel Wrench at the time of his ‘Turf War’ show.  


At the time of the interview, a recent article in The Independent had printed his name as Robert Banks, and Wrench asked whether he could use his real name in the interview. Asking to confirm whether it was Robert Banks, Banksy can be heard saying, “It’s Robbie”. 

Last December, two men were arrested in connection with the apparent theft of a new Banksy artwork in Peckham, South London. The anti-war piece included a ‘STOP’ traffic sign emblazoned with war aircraft, and the artist later confirmed it to have been made by him. 

Although Banksy did not elaborate on its meaning, many speculated that it related to the Israel-Palestine confllict, given the artist’s longstanding connection to the area. 

Last year, Banksy also created seven new murals in various locations across Ukraine, particularly areas which had been badly impacted by the Russian invasion. 

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