EBay seller auctioning alleged true identity of street artist Banksy
SAN JOSE, Calif. – (ACNI) You can buy anything on eBay – even something as intangible as a person’s secret identity. A U.S.-based seller is currently offering to the highest bidder the identity of stealth artist and political activist Banksy, whose artworks quickly moved from the sides of buildings in rundown neighborhoods to celebrity collections and the posh auction galleries of London and New York.
The eBay seller offering to reveal Banky’s identity claims to be an art insider, and writes in his item description: “Being very connected in the art scene and with meticulous corresponding research, I’m holding in my hand the tangible notecard with the name everyone’s so crazy to figure out. Feel free to ask any questions other than revealing the name.”
The starting bid on item 170592039227 is $2,500, but for those who can’t wait, there’s a Buy It Now price of $4,000. Shipping is, of course, free.
Banksy’s real name has been widely reported to be Robert, Robden, Robin Gunningham or Robin Banks. His date of birth has been given as July 28, 1973 (according to the Daily Mail of London).
Simon Hattenstone from Guardian Unlimited is one of the very few people to have interviewed him face to face. Hattenstone describes him as “a cross of [singer/actor] Jimmy Nail and British rapper Mike Skinner,” and “a 28-year-old male who showed up wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a silver tooth, silver chain, and one silver earring.” In the same interview, Banksy supposedly claimed that his parents think their son is a painter and decorator.
In May 2007, an extensive article written by Lauren Collins of The New Yorker re-opened the Banksy-identity controversy citing a 2004 photograph of the artist that was taken in Jamaica during the Two-Culture Clash project and later published in the London Evening Standard in 2004.
In October 2007, a story on the BBC website featured a photo allegedly taken by a passerby in Bethnal Green, London, purporting to show Banksy at work with an assistant, alongside scaffolding and a truck.
In July 2008, it was claimed by The Mail on Sunday that Banksy’s real name is Robin Gunningham. His agent has refused to confirm or deny these reports.
In May 2009, The Mail on Sunday once again speculated about Gunningham being Banksy after a “self-portrait” of a rat holding a sign with the word “Gunningham” shot onto it was photographed in East London. This “new Banksy rat” story was also picked up by the Times of London and the Evening Standard.
Banksy, himself, states on his website: “I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as being ‘good at drawing doesn’t sound like Banksy to me.”
A previous eBay listing offering the alleged identity of Banksy, item 260720844294, claimed its source as having been tax records that matched up with prices of the artist’s sold pieces. That listing is no longer on the website, and an eBay message informs that the item “has been removed, or…is not available.”
Bidding on the current eBay auction offering the alleged identify of Banksy will close on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2011 at 5:28 p.m. Eastern Time.
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