Has Banksy, the mysterious graffiti artist, finally been caught in the act?
For the month of October, the Bristol, England, native has been trekking all over New York City for his latest project, Better Out Than In, unveiling one graffiti art piece a day. He’s been labeled a vandal by Mayor Bloomberg, and is alleged to have bailed on his NYC project due to “police activity.”
But a Banksy fanatic allegedly captured the artist in the act earlier today on the streets of New York City. The artist is allegedly pictured spraying a wall with black paint to create a "drip effect," according to the photographer. The photograph was taken on the corner of Elizabeth and Houston streets in lower Manhattan.
There have been a few photographs purported to be Banksy in the past, but none have been confirmed, and none have shown the artist in the act. People have speculated about his identity for years. Is he Robin Gunningham, a college-educated Bristol man born on July 28, 1973? Or is he Robert Banks?
The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone is the only member of the media who’s met Banksy face-to-face, and described him as “white, 28, scruffy casual—jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain, and silver earring. He looks like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of the Streets.” Although this could have just been a bit of cheeky misdirection on the artist’s part.
*UPDATE: This is from the photographer:
"Context: he was doing the walls for his grim reaper bumper car piece; you could see through the hole(s) in the tarp covering the fences for the first minute or two before they covered the holes with another tarp (because they realized people were looking).
He came in, put on white coveralls, sprayed the walls, changed into different clothes with sunglasses/fake beard and walked out in between 4 members of his 'crew' while pretending to talk on his cell phone and walked down the street and around the corner. When he walked out, there were a little under a hundred people waiting to see the piece and I'd say two or three people noticed it was him."
*UPDATE 2: Now, there's a video.
This, from the photographer, about the video: "Banksy is allegedly the man entering with the orange backpack... he was giving everyone instructions, and then put on white coveralls and sprayed the walls."