Investigator plots appearances of artist’s graffiti around the world to create new theory that it’s really a group of artists led by Massive Attack star
- Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja – the founding member of Massive Attack – accused of being the guerrilla graffiti star
- Bristol ex-public schoolboy Robin Gunningham has been named as the elusive artist in recent years
- But dozens of murals have appeared in cities around the world where Massive Attack had been touring
- Mr Del Naja says he is close friends with Banksy – but journalist Craig Williams believes it could be him
The hunt for the true identity of Banksy took a new twist today after a member of Massive Attack was named as the artist.
Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja, the founding member of the Bristol band, has been accused of being the guerrilla graffiti star because art keeps appearing near their gigs.
In 2008 former public schoolboy Robin Gunningham was named as Banksy by the Mail on Sunday – and scientists analysing his work also believe it is him.
But now investigative journalist Craig Williams, 31, claims the artist could be Mr Del Naja, or perhaps a team of people led by him and linked to Massive Attack who combine their concerts with graffiti.
New theory: The hunt for the true identity of Banksy took a new twist today after a member of Massive Attack was named at the artist by an investigator who has plotted his art and found they matched to Massive Attack gig
Is it him? Massive Attack star Robert Del Naja, pictured arriving at Banksy’s Dismaland in Weston-Super-Mare last year, has been accused of being the guerrilla graffiti star
Mr Williams has plotted Banksy murals around the world and said that on at least six occasions more than a dozen appeared shortly before or after Massive Attack gigs in the same cities over the past 12 years.
3D was a graffiti artist in the 1980s and has admitted he is friends with Banksy – but the journalist’s new research concludes he may be the artist himself.
His band, famous for songs Tear Drop and Unfinished Sympathy, has made millions while Banksy’s art sells for at least £500,000 a piece.
Mr Williams said it has been the common conception was that the artist was ‘plain old public school boy Robin Gunningham’.
He said: ‘But what if Banksy isn’t the one person everyone thinks he is. What if Banksy is a group of people who have 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.
‘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.
‘And on analysis of his North American work, this makes perfect sense.’
Star: The Bristol street artist came to the public’s attention back in 1997 with his The Mild Mild West mural in the city – the same time Massive Attack became one of the world’s biggest banks.
Trends: The investigator spent five months looking at Banksy’s art and says that many coincide with Massive Attack gigs across the world
Banksy rose to fame in the late 1990s, when his provocative stencil work started to get recognition.
At a similar time Massive Attack was releasing its seminal albums Blue Lines and Mezzanine with band member Robert Del Naja credited as being the first graffiti artist in Bristol.
According to Craig’s investigation six Banksy murals were reported in San Francisco on May 1, 2010 after Massive Attack performed a two night stint in the city on April 25 and 27.
Massive Attack played Toronto a week later before more new Banksy murals were reported there.
Later on that tour Massive Attack head to Boston’s Chinatown a day after a Banksy appeared there.
Similar patterns are reported in 2006 when Massive Attack embarked on a US tour, which included a slot at the Hollywood Bowl, LA, a week before Banksy’s Barely Legal exhibition in the city.
In 2008 Banksy produced 14 stencils across New Orleans marking the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Del Naja co-wrote the soundtrack to the New Orleans-themed documentary Trouble the Water during the same time frame.
US: Six Banksy murals were reported in San Francisco on May 1, 2010, including the one pictured, after Massive Attack performed a two night stint in the city on April 25 and 27
Canada: Massive Attack played Toronto a week later before more new Banksy murals, including this one, appeared
Louisiana: In 2008 Banksy produced 14 stencils across New Orleans marking the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, left and right. Del Naja co-wrote the soundtrack to the New Orleans-themed documentary Trouble the Water