Rumours have been swirling about in recent days that Robert Del Naja, also known as 3D, of Bristol based trip-hop act Massive Attack, is in fact UK street artist Banksy.
Not only is Del Naja an accomplished musician, he is also a well known visual artist. Then there is the matter of Banksy artworks popping up in places where Massive Attack were touring.
As the group performed in Bristol last Saturday, their first gig in their hometown in eleven years apparently, Del Naja told the audience, “rumours of me being Banksy are greatly exaggerated, we are all Banksy!”
A conclusive denial, if ever there was one. The plot thickens, if you ask me.
The Palmitas district, of the Mexican city of Pachuca, has been transformed into something rather spectacular, thanks to the efforts of a number of organisations working together as the German Crew. Some two hundred homes are now part of what must surely be one of the largest murals in the world.
During the very first interview that Banksy gave to The Guardian, another figure was present (“Steve,” Banksy’s agent). Another figure is always present, says Canadian media artist Chris Healey, who has maintained since 2010 that Banksy is a team of seven artists led by a woman – potentially the same woman with long blonde hair who appears in scenes depicting Banksy’s alleged studio in “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. Although Healey won’t identify the direct source for his highly specific claim, it’s at least as believable as the suggestion that Banksy is and always has been a single man.
Melbourne based street artist Rone has, on the side wall of a nine storey building in downtown Melbourne, created what is said to be Australia’s largest street mural produced by one person. Going by the evidence that looks to be a pretty sound claim.
An mural by UK street artist Banksy, that had been residing on the side of a building in North London, was recently extracted from the wall, and listed for auction in the US. The work is expected to sell for around US$500,000 but I doubt that Banksy will see a single cent of whatever proceeds the artwork realises.
The piece in question is titled “Slave Labour,” and first appeared on the side of a discount store in North London in May 2012. CNN reports that many residents grew quite fond of the piece and the attention it gave the neighborhood. Unfortunately for those residents, the piece was abruptly cut out of the wall last week. News soon emerged that the owner of the building had ordered the extraction in order to “preserve” the work. Well, “preserve” is apparently synonymous with “profit off” in the owner’s mind: “Slave Labour” has turned up in the catalog of an auction house in Miami, and will be sold this Saturday in the “Modern, Contemporary and Street Art” collection for an estimated $500,000 to $700,000.
It seems amazing to me, by the way, that given the degree of surveillance in public places, where much of Banksy’s work appears, that his, or her, identity still remains a mystery, even if some people feel they know who the elusive artist is.