Today we would like to tell you a story. It’s an intriguing one. One that may raise more questions than answers. It’s a tale of alleged conspiracy, lies and the most famous living artist in the world… Banksy.
Let’s start at the beginning
On September 17th 2019, we released an article written by UK artist Paul Kneen, questioning who the real artist was behind the £10m painting, Devolved Parliament.
It was a question no one else seemed to be asking. In fact, it felt like no one cared who did it. It said Banksy on the bottom, therefore it must have been painted by him.
This simple question resulted in a phone call from Chris Hastings at The Mail on Sunday who had been made aware of the article from a friend in the US. He felt our observations made a very interesting point and he wanted to run a story… which he did. In fact, it resulted in a full page spread. That was Sunday 13th October.
For us here at CreativeFolk, we high-fived each other and celebrated this exciting event. We wondered what, if anything, would come of this and even joked whether Banksy himself might have seen it.
It’s time to keep an open mind
On Wednesday 16th October the phone rang.
“Hi, is that CreativeFolk”.
“Yes, it is”.
“You guys wrote the original article that resulted in the story in the Mail on Sunday, right?”.
“That’s us. Sorry who are we speaking to?”.
“Well, I’m someone who represents the real Banksy”.
Can you now understand why the heading above asks you to keep an open mind?
As you can imagine, our minds were immediately filled with scepticism and doubt, but the phone call continued.
The next 30 mins resulted in an incredible story. You might go as far as to say unbelievable.
It was a story of an artist who was pushed out of the art world by his fellow peers.
A story of a brand that became bigger than the artist…
A story of fake Banksy work that has seen certain people make vasts amount of money…
…and according to the person on the phone… the real Banksy has had enough of the lies and deceit that has taken place in his name.
Throughout the entire phone call our heads were spinning.
Can this be true? Is this a hoax? If it is a hoax, what’s the angle? Why us?
Throughout the phone call we were reassured that they completely understood how insane and unbelievable this story must seem, but we were assured it’s 100% true.
He then went on to explain that ‘Banksy’ has been busy creating new original work. That there are images of the work that he will send us, including images showing the artist at work (but of course the face is hidden from view).
He explained this new work will utilise digital technology that will prove the authenticity of the art and reveal just how much of the so-called Banksys’ out there are simply fake, created by a group who have mislead the public for years.
This conversation ended with the promise of emails.
Thursday 17th October
With bated breath we waited. Checking our emails to see what, if anything, would arrive.
The events of yesterday left us thinking what you’re probably thinking right now, this is a hoax.
At around 1pm two emails came through. The first contained a number of images showing the new work that had been described the day before, including images of a hooded figure working on them.
The second contained numerous web links to articles that they felt backed up their argument.
So, before we get to the images, let’s go through the articles one by one…
Remember the shredded girl with the balloon stunt that took place on Friday 5th October 2018? Well this is apparently fake. According to the article linked above, this is simply a classic magic trick. It raises many questions and casts doubt over the stunt that according to the previous phone call, Banksy was not a part of.
Tuesday 1st October 2019 – Gross Domestic Product Shop opens in Croydon. According to a poster at the shop this was due to a dispute with a greetings card company. This happened 48hrs before Devolved Parliament was to be auctioned.
Thursday 3rd October – Devolved Parliament sells for a record breaking £9.8m.
Saturday 12th October – The Independent releases a story naming Full Colour Black as the greeting cards company in dispute with Banksy.
Sunday 13th October – Based on our original article, The Mail on Sunday raises the question of who really painted Devolved Parliament.
Monday 14th October – The announcement that Gross Domestic Product shop has now closed
Thursday 17th October – Gross Domestic Product website opens for business.
So, what does this all mean? What’s the importance of this timeline?
Well that leads us on to what happened approximately an hour after receiving these emails…
“Hi, nice to talk to you, it’s Banksy”
If that heading took you by surprise, imagine how we felt.
After a short conversation with the guy that had phoned us the day before, we were informed the elusive ‘Banksy’ wanted to have a chat.
What came next was the most surreal and bizarre conversation…
He explained that pretty much everything we have been led to recognise as Banksy isn’t his. That a group of powerful individuals which he referred to as ‘Team Banksy’ has been running the show. That he was pushed out for not having the right ‘fit’.
He then went on to say Devolved Parliament was the last straw, and this is why he approached us. Because we actually pointed out something that no one else was willing to question… did Banksy actually paint this?
He discussed his new work at great length, explaining how the incorporation of technology will prove that this is his true work. That he is the genuine Banksy.
He questioned that if Devolved Parliament sold for £10m and was by Banksy, why on earth would the same artist then start selling £10 products online. It just doesn’t make sense.
At Glastonbury 2019, Grime artist Stormzy walked out on the main stage wearing a Union Jack stab vest allegedly created by Banksy. 16 weeks later you can buy one for just £850?
One week artworks are being auctioned for millions through Sotheby’s and the next B-Bay is announced… in his words, things just don’t add up.
He explained that ‘Team Banksy’ knows he’s coming. That these recent stunts and auctions are a last-ditch attempt to cash in before the truth erupts.
There is only one
Earlier we discussed email number two regarding the various links to evidence. Now it’s time to discuss email number one… the images.
Straight away we have to be honest, they look familiar, like something Banksy might create… they are stencils, they have social commentary style messages.
According to ‘Banksy’, what has been passed off as his over the years, are simply ‘imitations’, painted by various different artists. He asked that we look at this new work and decide for ourselves what we believe is true. To raise questions and doubts over what has gone before and to come to our own independent conclusions.
So, without further ado here is what we were sent… first up is ‘Pandamonium’.
Here are two more images, Modern Girl and Sleeping Policeman…
Is this the real Banksy? Revealing exactly how he feels?
And finally… are these images below of the true Banksy?
You need to decide
A quick search on Google reveals all manner of conspiracy theories regarding the identity of Banksy. From Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack to a team of artists working together under the one name.
Banksy has become a myth, a folklore, a modern-day Santa Claus. Did we really speak to the authentic Banksy or is this just an elaborate scam?
Maybe they’re just using us to get the rumour mill turning so that when these works appear there’s enough to make us believe these are the real deal.
Or, maybe, just maybe these accusations are true. When so much money is at stake who knows what length powerful people will go to ensure they get their share.
The ‘Banksy’ on the phone seemed sincere, he sounded frustrated at the injustices that have taken place in his name. He said he’s tired. Tired of having to act like a fugitive. Tired of opening the papers, watching the news and seeing work being done in his name. He wants to tell his story and let his art do the talking. He wants to be recognised as the original, before the ‘Team Banksy’ PR think tank pushed him out and took over.
The issue is the elusiveness of Banksy has allowed this to happen. For others to declare they are in fact Banksy. But the same elusiveness could also allow a corporation to run the show.
Have you ever doubted if everything you’ve seen is really a Banksy?
Can one man really never be caught producing work that’s become more elaborate and time consuming?
These are questions that have certainly crossed our minds, but we never considered the idea that what we know and love as Banksy could be due to this version of events.
We’ve been invited to meet the ‘Banksy’ we spoke to, interview him and view the art (and out of curiosity we will of course do this) but, surely any one could create a stencil with a heartfelt message, pop on a mask and call themselves Banksy? But then, why doesn’t this happen more often?
You have no idea how much we want all of this to be true, after all, if it is, it’s the type of plot films are made of. And therein lies the problem. It is such a bold statement to make.
When you start thinking, questioning and connecting the dots you could conclude it could be… or, are we just convincing ourselves?
We guess only time will tell and hopefully, one day, the real Banksy WILL stand up and take a bow.
To be continued…
We would love to know your thoughts. Did we speak to the real Banksy? Is this just an elaborate hoax? Let us know in the comments section below.