Banksy’s identity remains a mystery – but could the key to the secret be held in one of these rare sightings of the enigmatic graffiti artist.
Operating completely anonymously, there are few things that excite and inflame more than another Banksy appearing seemingly at random.
The street artist is characterised by the dark humour and political activism within his satirical work.
Active since the early 1990s, his street art and ambitious stunts have been acclaimed by critics.
And with a huge new Banksy exhibition coming to London – Daily Star Online is looking at some of the most compelling theories and sightings of the mysterious artist.
Fans will have a chance to view some of his work at The Art of Banksy show which features 80 prints, canvasses, screen prints and sculptures at an as of yet undisclosed location in South Kensington from April 23.
Each provocative piece should be enough to get you scratching your head as we all continue to ask the question – who is Banksy?
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October last year saw the most recent possible clue to Banksy’s identity when the artist’s former agent and photographer Steve Lazarides released pictures of him.
However, of course , the photos are careful obscure the artist’s face – including one shot in which he points a spray can into the camera.
Banksy – if it really is Banksy – can w be seen wearing black chipped nail varnish.
And in another shot, he can be seen with short choppy brown hair as creates one of his pieces.
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And then just over a year ago, there was a sighting of Banksy being potentially caught in the act as the repainted the Love Plane piece in Liverpool.
It was removed in 2016 with plans to display it in a “street gallery”, but the plans never came to fruition.
And the last year the plane flew back home, reappearing with the phrase “I am back”.
Witnesses reported seeing a “hooded figure” repainting the piece, which is believed to be the elusive Banksy.
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Banksy was also seemingly sighted during his Girl With Balloon shredding stunt in October, 2018.
Stunned punters watched as the painting was fed through a hidden shredder built into the frame at an art action.
The anonymous artist uploaded a video of him carrying out the stunt to his social media feed – with the caption “going, going gone”.
Other video of the event however appears to show a man wearing a suit, specs and with curly hair filming a video suspiciously similar to the one uploaded by Banksy.
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Banksy was claimed to have been pictured earlier that year after one of his works appeared on the disused Scott Street Bridge in Hull.
The photos of the man – wearing a cap and sunglasses – were taken before Banksy had even claimed the art as his own.
And then in April, 2017, there was an alleged sighting of Banksy at a shopping mall in Israel.
Video shows a man wearing a white hat, blue shirt and camouflage pants – he is carrying a stencil before covering his face.
It was later revealed the man was actually British graffiti artist James Ame, who lives in Israel.
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Banksy has previously been named as Robin Gunningham – a former pupil at Bristol Cathedral School.
It has been claimed the artworks appearances match with Gunningham’s movements – and Banksy is known to believed to be based from Bristol.
DJ and actor Goldie referred to Banksy as “Rob” during an interview with Scroobius Pip.
Banksy fans have matched this up to Gunningham – Rob, short for Robin.
Or could Goldie’s slip of the tongue potentially hint to Robert Del Naja, better known as 3D, from Massive Attack.
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Del Naja is known to have been a graffiti artist before becoming a musician.
In anonymous interviews, Banksy has cited Del Naja as an influence – and he is credited as being the first graffiti artist in Bristol.
His art is known to be similar to Banksy’s and many have claimed he could be the man behind the can.
Investigators have also claimed to have matched up Massive Attack’s touring schedule with appearances by art by Banksy.
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Banksy was described as "white, 28, scruffy casual – jeans, t-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring, in a report by the Guardian.
"He looks like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of the Streets,” it read.
Banksy has also alleged to have given a number to TV interviews, but often appearing either out of focus or in a mask.
Last year, ITV unearthed a TV report which claims to feature an interview with Banksy at the Turf War Exhibition in 2003.
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ITV news reporter Haig Gordon said: “I don’t think I could say a single thing about what he looked like. Isn’t that dreadful?
“He was relaxed, he was laid-back, he was amiable. I quite took to him. I was dreading a pretentious arty-farty type. But he was very pleasant.
“He reacted very well when I made a joke just before the camera was rolling. I said ‘Right Banksy, what will you do if I take that (the t-shirt) off during the interview?’ and he just laughed, he knew I wasn’t meaning it.
"I have no evidence on which to make an assessment on whether this was the real Banksy or not.”
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Fake news stories began circulating claimed he had been arrested and unmasked back in 2013, again in 2014 and then again in 2017.
It named him as Paul Horner, 35, provided a mugshot, and claimed he had been arrested in “sting operation”.
The story was actually written by an American hoaxer called Paul Horner, who then died in 2017.
Horner was actually once considered a suspect to be Banksy in a clever double bluff, but the continued appearances of his graffiti appears to put an end to that theory.
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Banksy is also theorised to not be one person – but rather a collective of artists working around Britain.
And despite the theories however, Banksy’s cloak of mystique remains intact for the public.
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