Banksy’s name and identity remain unknown – it has been stated that the reason for this secrecy is that graffiti is a crime.
A commonly cited 2008 Mail on Sunday investigation of several former schoolmates and associates stated that the artist is believed to be Robin Gunningham, a former pupil at the public Bristol Cathedral School. This suggestion was corroborated in 2016 by a study of the locations in which Banksy’s art has been found, which found that the incidence of Banksy’s works correlated with the known movements of Gunningham.
There has also been speculation that Banksy is a woman, or that Banksy is a team of seven artists. In October 2014 an internet hoax circulated that Banksy had been arrested and their identity revealed.
In August 2016, Scottish journalist Craig Williams published an investigative piece in which he connected the timing of Banksy’s murals with the touring schedule of the trip hop band Massive Attack. Williams put forward the suggestion that Banksy’s work could be the work of a collective, and that Banksy themselves may be Massive Attack’s frontman, Robert Del Naja. Del Naja had been a graffiti artist during the 1980s prior to forming the band and had previously been identified as a personal friend of Banksy.