Who is Banksy the anonymous street artist from Bristol?

Banksy's 'Girl with Balloon'

Street artist Banksy is one of Bristol's most famous citizens.

If you take a walk around the city, you'll be able to spot a number of iconic works by the artist.

But although he is known around the world, Banksy's identity still remains a mystery.

Famous for both his artwork and his activism, the artist has kept himself anonymous for decades. So what do we know about him?

Who is Banksy?

Despite his worldwide fame, Britain's most elusive artist's identity is a mystery.

The anonymous street artist - thought to be from Bristol - displays his art on publicly-visible surfaces such as walls and physical props.

Banksy first got noticed for spray-painting trains and walls in Bristol during the early 1990s, but now his installations appear all over the world.

Is this Banksy?

A 'forgotten' television interview in 2003 with a man who claimed to be Banksy was later discovered in the vaults of ITV News.

The report was filmed ahead of Banksy's Turf War exhibition in 2003, where the man is seen stencilling a black insect on to a wall, as well as painting a picture of a baby with blocks spelling "KILL MORE".

Why is Banksy anonymous?

Street art and graffiti is considered by some as criminal damage, so in the beginning it is thought the artist stayed anonymous to keep out of trouble.

When 'Time' magazine selected Banksy for its list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010, alongside Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Lady Gaga, the street artist supplied a picture of himself with a paper bag over his head.

What are Banksy's most famous creations?

Some of his most well-known pieces include the Naked Man or Well Hung Lover on Frogmore Street, just off The Centre. But it is perhaps best viewed from the bottom of Park Street.

The original piece has been vandalised, so part of it is now covered with a blue splash of paint. 

The Mild Mild West is in Stokes Croft. Credit: PA

Also known to many people in Bristol is the Mild, Mild West which depicts a teddy bear taking on riot police. It can be found in Stokes Croft, just a short walk up from the Bear Pit.

In 2018, Banksy made headlines around the world after one of his pieces shredded itself after being bought at auction for £1.1million.

The piece was re-sold in 2021 for £18.5million.

Banksy's activism

Banksy’s Love Is In The Bin, which self-shredded immediately after it was sold at auction is up for sale again Credit: PA

In December, Banksy announced in his Instagram that he had designed T-shirts to support four people accused of toppling the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.

In the post Banksy said that proceeds from the T-shirts would go "to the defendants so they can go for a pint".