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This Guy Thinks Banksy Is the Singer From Massive Attack

Bored high school art teacher? Disenchanted investment banker? Try 90s trip hop musician.

by Katherine Gillespie
Sep 2 2016, 12:00am


Teardrop on the fire, fearless on my breath. Image via Flickr user Tom Thai

British journalist Craig Williams believes he's uncovered anonymous street artist, and Disneyland hater, Banksy's true identity once and for all. Bored high school art teacher? Disenchanted investment banker? Nope, try a 90s trip hop musician.

Williams' hypothesis is that the man behind the stencils is none other than Robert "3D" Del Naja, founding member of Massive Attack. Yes, the band responsible for hits such as "Teardrop" and—okay, mainly they are known for "Teardrop".

Williams has documented the whole theory on his blog, transmissionglasgow, and it's extensively researched.

Here's the evidence: Del Naja—who's actually a known stencil artist himself—hails from Bristol, which is the city that first made Banksy famous in the early 90s. Massive Attack also got their start in Bristol, in the late 80s.

The theory goes deeper though. Williams has meticulously cross-referenced the geographic locations of international Banksy artworks with Massive Attack's touring schedule—linking tour dates in Melbourne, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, Toronto, and Boston with key Banksy stencils.

"Around the time when six Banksy murals were reported to the press in San Francisco on the 1st of May 2010, including the famous 'This Will Look Nice When It's Framed' image, Massive Attack performed a two night stint in the city on the 25th and 27th April, a few days previously," Williams' blog post reads.

"Also in Toronto a similar pattern arises. Massive Attack played the city's Sound Academy on May 7th and May 9th in 2010, the latter being the day that three new Banksy murals appeared in the city."

In 2008, Williams says, Banksy stencilled walls all over New Orleans on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. "Coincidentally", Del Naja helped write the soundtrack to a documentary about the city, Trouble the Water. Its premiere was perfectly timed with the appearance of the New Orleans stencils.

Massive Attack have been linked to Banksy directly—they were scheduled as headline performers at Banksy's Dismaland last year, but pulled out at the last minute due to "technical difficulties."

So the alternative, Williams admits, is that Banksy and the band are close friends—perhaps even touring together. The detective isn't willing to discount the long-prevailing theory that Banksy is actually a collective of stencil artists, either—one that's perhaps led by Del Naja.

By the way, up until this point, people thought Banksy was some unfamous middle aged dude from Bristol called Robin Gunningham.

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