Mr. Banksy, I suppose: the consultant who resigned over his claims that he had a secret | Banksy

To be clear, Billy Gannon isn’t Banksy. Or at least – that’s what he says.

Says the 58-year-old from Pembroke Dock, West Wales. “Every time I deny that I’m Banksy… so many people in town [decide] I am, or could be, Banksy.”

Not being Banksy may seem unnoticeable to a lot of people, and the vast majority of them aren’t An elusive street artist and activist. But in Gannon’s case, his status as “Not Banksy” this week plunged him into what he described as an “existential crisis”, after he resigned from his position as chancellor in the small town of Pembrokeshire, in response to allegations spread via email and on social media. That he lied about his identity, he’s 10 years younger than he claims – and he’s actually Banksy.

He wrote in an email to the writer earlier this week that the rumors, which Gannon believes were maliciously started by a rival council candidate, were “undermining my ability to do the job of chancellor” and discrediting the municipal council. As a result, he resigned as Independent member of Ward Bufferland.

Artwork by Banksy appeared on a garage wall in Port Talbot in 2018.
Artwork by Banksy appeared on a garage wall in Port Talbot in 2018. Photo: Matt Cardi/Getty Images

– Follows up on reports of his resignation and the reasons for it, The spread of the virus in Britain And far behind He says the last few days have been very strange. “You know that Kafka novel, I think it’s mutantWhere a man sleeps like a human and wakes up like a six-foot-tall beetle?

“What I’m being asked to do is not to prove who I am. I’m being asked to prove who I’m not, and it might not be the person I don’t exist. I mean, how do I prove I’m not someone who doesn’t exist? Just how do you do that?”

Currently, he wears a small black badge on his lapel that says, “I’m not Banksy.” “I’m not Banksy,” he says, “and I have the badge to prove it.”

Gannon admits that part of the problem is that there is enough in his own background to make the rumors at least plausible. An artist with a special interest in community projectsHe speaks passionately about working with ordinary people and says he believes art should be accessible to everyone.

Originally from Warrington, he moved to Pembroke Dock with his wife and son in 2013, after what he described as “completely wild, living off the backs of trucks and spraying on walls” — although he says he’s been more involved in legal affairs than street art than writing on the walls. “All the things Banksy did, I also did about 10 years ago, which is why this claim that I am Banksy has so much weight to him. I was in the same place doing the same thing at the same time.

“But that doesn’t make me Banksy.”

Many people might take it as a compliment compared to the famous artist, and Gannon, as it happens, is among them. “Here’s the thing: I totally love him. Or he/she/they. The man is a hero. They are heroes. Just for [Banksy’s interventions in Palestine] Alone, he will always have a special place in my heart. ” He also admires the accessibility of the artist’s work – “It is for everyone”.

Why did he feel the need to quit? A series of vandalism in a local park, just as a number of social media posts and emails accusing Gannon of deception and a history of illegal graffiti, made him feel his position was untenable, he said.

Statue of Luisa Calderon, a victim of racial torture in the 18th century, a work by William Gannon in his name.
Statue of Luisa Calderon, a victim of racial torture in the 18th century, a work by William Gannon in his name. Photography: William Gannon

“Having a counselor who lied about his date of birth, working under a pseudonym — that would be disastrous for the city’s reputation. And suddenly the only thing we were going to talk about at Pembroke Dock wouldn’t be how to improve people’s lives, we were just talking about having a crook sitting on city council.” The Guardian has seen the original hostile letters and presented them with evidence confirming Gannon’s age and identity.

The story may have started out of bad faith, but it’s also, as the former counselor puts it, “very ridiculous. It’s just ridiculous.” And so, in response, he made a number of “I’m not Banksy” badges available to others Through his websitewith the following statement:

“If you’re not Banksy, please take the I’m Not Banksy badge and wear it everywhere you go. If you’re Banksy, please don’t take the I’m Not Banksy badge and don’t wear it anywhere you go.

“Help us find Banksy.”

Also not Banksy. or they?

Robert Del Naga, or 3D

Massive Attack member who has It has long been considered another possible Banksy character. Del Nga grew up in Bristol, where Banksy’s first work came out, and was a street artist prior to founding the band. that 2016 analysis of Massive Attack International Tour dates He claimed they appeared to coincide with the appearance of Banksy’s murals, and suggested that Del Naga was responsible, possibly as part of a group. He described the claim as “largely exaggerated.”

Neil Buchanan

“Neil Buchanan is not Banksy”, The former children’s TV announcer insisted in 2020, after a rumor on Twitter led to a flood of inquiries. The presenter of Art Attack was known for creating outdoor artwork on a large scale, and there were claims on social media that Banksy’s artwork appeared to coincide with a concert by former heavy metal band Buchanan Marseille.

Robin Gunningham

Bristol artist who It was first named in 2008 as a potential candidate by the Mail on Sunday, based in part on a photograph said to depict a graffiti artist and claims that Gunningham was particularly good at art at school. Scientists at Queen Mary University of London He claimed in 2016 that he used “geoprofiling” to link the twobut the allegations have not been confirmed.

Jimmy Hewlett

Anonymous “forensic expert” It was claimed in 2018 that they had identified Gorillaz artist and co-founder Jimmy Hewlett as Banksy, based on information that showed Hewlett’s association with companies associated with the graffiti artist, while Banksy’s artwork appeared in Gorillaz videos. Notably, Banksy’s denial misspelled Hewlett’s name.

Thierry Guetta

Guetta’s appearance as graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash was first documented in Banksy’s 2010 Academy Award-nominated film Exit Through the Gift Shop, leading many viewers to wonder if Banksy was himself. When you say you are [Banksy] They say, “No, you are not.” And when you say, “I’m not,” they say, “Yeah, I’m sure you are.” So you know what, damn it,” He said last year.