Name: Banksy – a corrupted form of his original street name ‘rob da bank’, said to allude to his own first name ‘Robin’ (apt for a modern-day Robin Hood).
Why does he keep his identity secret? Some of the work is technically illegal, and being outside the law has always been part of his identity.
Age: Not as young as he was – in his 40s (based on the timeline of his work).
Born: Bristol, we presume. It was here he did all his first work – originally in the Barton Hill area of high-rise council flats. He’s still local; his latest big work, Dismaland, is on the Bristol Channel in Weston-super-Mare.
Lives and works: He’s internationally active: in New York, London, the West Bank, Weston. He’s got a wonderful gift for location. You have to travel to see his works; don’t expect them to come to you. (Get a railcard and follow him on Instagram for clues of his next works)
Studied: According to the Daily Mail hacks he attended Bristol Cathedral School, but they found no record of any formal art training at a Higher Education establishment. He learnt on the job.
Dealer: Pest Control is a handling service acting on his behalf and is now the sole point of sale for new work by Banksy. They also verify that any Banksy works already on the secondary market are genuine.
Ever won the Turner Prize? No; nor has he been nominated. The established art world is rather sniffy about his work, finding it too ‘immediate’. But, this might just be his year; he’s mobilized the masses to trek out to Weston-super-Mare for Dismaland.
Current project: Dismaland, see website for tickets. They are booked up until 15 September, but more tickets will become available.
Is it all a big laugh? Not at all. In the week when pictures of refugees washed up in Turkey are on our front pages, the themes of Dismaland are all too distressing. Banksy is urging a call to action in a lopsided world. He knows how to harness our five senses to get our attention. He’s a genius at that.
Official website: www.banksy.co.uk