Rarely does someone so famous choose to stay anonymous, but for nearly two decades British graffiti artist Bansky has remained an enigma while simultaneously gaining notoriety for his political statements colorfully stenciled on public property. What we do know about the artist is sparse: He was born in the mid-'70s and was probably originally from Bristol, UK. While cynics point out that anonymity brings the artist big bucks (original pieces have sold for upwards of $100,000) and a free pass from jail (his work is arguably vandalism), fans argue that his impact on the underground art and the public's increasing awareness of it has been substantial. Either way, the facelessness of Banksy is certainly part of his intrigue.
Or maybe not. Some dude is currently claiming to be selling the real identity of Banksy through ebay. Bidding starts at $3,000.
[jump] How exactly does one go about obtaining such information? According to jaybuysthings, the seller of this information, he has cracked the identity of the artist by following the paper trail. He states:
I have uncovered his identity by matching up the prices of his sold pieces to corresponding tax records. I will reveal no more details....Ebay previously ended this auction because I was selling something that was not "tangible." It is now tangible.
Taxes: They'll get you every time. According to the terms of the deal, jaybuysthings will send you a piece of paper with Banksy's real name, nothing more. Currently there are no bidders.
While the ebay seller claims to have the answers, the real identity of Banksy has been hotly debated for quite some time. Journalist Simon Hattenstone is one of the few people who has actually met the artist (or at least met a man claiming to be the artist). According to his piece, he is a smoker and Guinness drinker. His description:
Bansky is 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.
He is not the only person believed to have come fact-to-face with the artist. Several individuals have also claimed to have captured him on camera. And depending on who you ask, there's either a decent or tenuous case to be made that Banksy's real name is Robin Gunningham.
No matter who this person is, one has to wonder what joy winning such as auction would bring to someone. Does his identity really matter? While some may feel that they need closure, would a name on a slip of paper would really bring that? It's like having the ultimate party punchline with no way to set it up. The dude that paid for the identity of Mr. Vain from Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is better off.
The ebay auction will continue for four days. Bidding starts at $3,000, or you can buy the slip of paper outright for $25,000.