Suggesting that Banksy may be a team of people led by 3D, Williams is basing his assertion off of supposed correlations between the time and place of Banksy’s works and Massive Attack’s touring schedule.
“What if Banksy isn’t the one person everyone thinks he is. What if Banksy is a group of people who have been stencilling different locations both at home and abroad? Such a rich body of work done over a decade, across the globe, may allow for the suggestion,” Williams writes.
“Perhaps the assertion then that Banksy is just one person is wide of the mark, instead being a group who have, over the years, followed Massive Attack around and painted walls at their leisure.
“Perhaps, at the head of such a group we have Del Naja. A multi-disciplined artist in front of one the seminal groups in recent British music history, doubling up as the planet’s most revered street artist,” he says, adding, “Now that would be cool.”
Plotting Banksy murals around the world alongside Massive Attack’s touring schedule over the past 12 years, Williams claims that on at least six occasions more than a dozen Banksy artworks turned up in the same cities where Massive Attack were playing shows, shortly before or after they performed.
“A rumour exists from 2010 that his work that went up around North America was his work but were not necessarily painted by him, but rather by a street team that happened to be following the Massive Attack tour,” Williams says. “And on analysis of his North American work, this makes perfect sense.”
Indeed the instances of Banksy’s work coinciding with the band’s tour dates are numerous. Six of the artist’s murals were reported in San Francisco on 1st May 2010, after Massive Attack performed two back-to-back shows there. The band played Toronto, and a week later fresh Banksy pieces were up, and they played Boston’s Chinatown a day after a Banksy went up there. Even further abroad, in April 2003 Banksy’s work appeared in Melbourne, the same city Massive Attack had played a month before.
The band’s 2006 US tour even went through LA a week before Banksy’s seminal Barely Legal exhibition hit the city, and when it came time for the artist’s month-long New York residency in October 2013, Massive Attack just happened to be playing a four night residency at the Park Avenue Armoury.
The coincidences are more than just physical however, with 3D and the artist sharing thematic sensibilities as well. Both 3D and Banksy creating works concerning Hurricane Katrina, with the street artist producing 14 stencil works across New Orleans on the third anniversary of Katrina, while 3D wrote the soundtrack for the documentary Trouble The Water which dealt with the disaster.
Adding to his assertion is the fact that 3D was a graffiti artist in the 1980s. For his part, 3D claims he is only friends with Banksy. With Banksy rising to fame in the late 1990s as his controversial stencil work started to get noticed, at the same time Massive Attack were releasing seminal albums Blue Lines and Mezzanine, with 3D credited as Bristol’s first graffiti artist.
The musician also appeared in Banksy’s documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop, discussing his friendship with the artist from his early days in the city. Meanwhile, Banksy later returned the favour by providing the foreword to the book 3D and the Art of Massive Attack released last year. Talk about cross promotion.
As The Daily Mail reports, for his part, 3D has denied being Banksy, claiming he was painting on the streets for only three years before finding success with music. “I got arrested twice. That was enough,” he said between 1983 and 1986.
Banksy has also tried to distance himself from 3D, claiming Del Naja is too old, saying, “When I was about 10 years old a kid called 3D was painting the streets hard; I think he’d been to New York and was the first to bring spray painting back to Bristol. Graffiti was the thing we all loved at school – we did it on the bus on the way home.”
Mind you, this all comes despite The Mail On Sunday having named former public schoolboy Robin Gunningham as the artist back in 2008 based of ‘geographic profiling’ of the artist’s works and comparison by scientists between Banksy and Gunningham’s work.
Some are refusing to swallow William’s logic, while citing the compelling evidence suggesting Gunningham is the masked street artist. On top of the “geographic profiling” and scientific analysis pointing to Gunningham “as the only serious suspect”, records reveal Gunningham once lived with artist Luke Egan, who went on to exhibit with Banksy. To make things even more suss, Mr Egan initially denied knowing Gunningham only to later admit he had lived with him.
Add that to the fact that in 2000 when Banksy works started popping up in London, Gunningham had recently moved into a flat in Hackney, where a number of Banksy’s most iconic works would eventually appear. He even shared the flat with Jamie Eastman, who worked for the Hombre record label who have — you guessed it — used illustrations by Banksy on their releases.
With Massive Attack due to play a homecoming gig in Bristol this Saturday, Williams predicts a new Banksy work will likely turn up as well.
“I believe a new mural is highly likely to appear prior to or after the concert (in Bristol),” he says.
Only time will tell, but in the meantime why not check out the trailer for Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop below and see if you can find any clues as to the enigmatic artist’s true identity.
Watch: Banksy – Exit Through The Gift Shop Trailer