A rare TV news interview with a man claiming to be Banksy has been unearthed.
In the ITV London interview filmed before the graffiti artist’s breakthrough 2003 Turf War exhibition, a man is seen stencilling a picture of a black insect on to a wall. His face is partially obscured with a baseball cap and T-shirt.
As The Guardian reports, the news feature was aired in London but was forgotten about until Bristol-based ITV reporter Robert Murphy came across it while conducting research on the anonymous artist.
Correspondent Haig Gordon chats to the man during the video in which the interviewee speaks for around 35 seconds. The man explains why he is hiding his face: “I’m disguised because you can’t really be a graffiti writer and then go public,” he says, “the two things don’t quite go together.”
Later in the video seen by The Guardian Gordon asks the apparent Banksy about spraying “Designated Riot Area” on Nelson’s Column, to which he responds: “I thought that was quite funny.”
Gordon asks: “You don’t mind if I pass your details on to the police?” The man replies, “No. What details have you got?”
The ITV reporter who found the July 2003 footage in the broadcaster’s archives said it was impossible to say if the man was indeed Banksy. He said the video interview showed an artist claiming to be Banksy making art at an official Banksy exhibition.
Meanwhile, Gordon, who has since retired, spoke about the man in the interview that was conducted more than 15 years ago: “He was relaxed, he was laid-back, he was amiable. I quite took to him.
“I was dreading a pretentious arty-farty type, but he was very pleasant,” he said.
He added that he couldn’t say for certain that the man was Banksy. “But it seemed like an organised event. The press officer seemed like a normal press officer who wouldn’t be playing a trick on the media,” he said.
The Guardian reported further that Banksy’s team had this to say about the footage: “No comment. We get loads of these.”