Banksy Unmasked? 7 Clues That Robert Del Naja is the World-Famous Guerilla Artist

The latest suspect is definitely the most likely. At least so far.

It's the question that's plagued the art world for two decades: Who on earth is Banksy? We came close to an answer in 2008, when a The Mail on Sunday study targeted a man named Robin Gunningham as the elusive, globally famous graffiti artist. Academia corroborated the claim. Scientists went so far to publish a study in The Journal of Spatial Science stating that, yes, Gunningham was the guy. (They study authors used a scarily specific degree of location tracking as the basis for their research.) Unfortunately, it seems both outlets may have to print retractions: new reports suggest that a man named Robert Del Naja is Banksy, and the case is very compelling. In fact, here are the 7 biggest clues that he's the art-world's most wanted man. And for more great culture coverage, check out the 10 men who wear the same exact thing every single day.

Photo by Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

Banksy Artworks Follow His Band's Tour

robert del naja massive attack banksy

Robert Del Naja is a member of British trip-hop group Massive Attack. (You may recognize them as the guys behind the theme song for the TV show House.) Last year, journalist Craig Williams connected the touring schedule of Massive Attack with the timing and locations of Banksy's murals.

They Come From the Same Place

bristol banksy robert del naja

Massive Attack was formed in Bristol. Banksy's first mural? You guessed it. (It was in Bristol.) Also of note: In 2009, Bristol was ranked in the top 10 cities in the world by a poll of travel publishers. For other amazing cities, check out the 20 cities you need to see before you die.

They Share the Same First Name

Massive Attack Performing. Including Robert Del Naja

In an interview on Scroobius Pip's podcast, "Distraction Pieces," rapper Goldie referenced Banksy as "Robert." Goldie: "Give me a bubble letter and put it on a T-shirt and write Banksy on it and we're sorted. We can sell it now. No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over."

De Naja Got His Start in Street Art

banksy robert del naja

In the late 1980s, Robert De Naja made a name for himself as a prominent and talented street—i.e. "graffiti"—artist in the Bristol area.

He's Still An Artist

robert del naja banksy

All of the artwork for Massive Attack's album sleeves is done by Robert Del Naja. And, as any even remotely casual observer could note, the work bears a resemblance to Banksy's murals. In fact, his stuff is so good, you may even want to hang it on your walls.

Banksy Wrote The Foreword to Del Naja's Book

robert del naja banksy

Last year, Robert Del Naja released a book, 3D and the Art of Massive Attack. (3D is another name that Robert Del Naja goes by.) And yes, Bansky wrote the foreword.

He Denied It

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And isn't that exactly what Banksy would do?

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Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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