BANKSY is elusive graffiti artist whose real identity has never been revealed.
The secretive street scribbler has been baffling the world for years after creating street art using the cover of darkness to keep his anonymity – with the provocative artist unveiling his latest piece in New York. But just who is he?
and what are his most famous art works? />EPA Banky's latest piece in New York protests the imprisonment of the Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan
How did Banksy get started and how much is he worth?
Dubbed the Scarlet Pimpernel of the art world, Banksy is an anonymous English-based street and graffiti artist as well as a political artist.
He first burst into prominence in the early 1990s as a graffiti artist whose works highlighted corruption and inequality in society with a smattering of humour.
His work was spotted around the south of England, including in London, Brighton and Bristol, although his work has often popped up in prominent international locations.
Banksy has never been unmasked and it is believed his refusal to reveal himself started as a way of avoiding prosecution for vandalism.
The artist has also dabbled in the world of film, releasing the 'street art disaster movie' Exit Through The Gift Shop.
And in 2015 he opened Dismaland, a large scale installation in Weston-super-Mare lampooning Disneyland.
In 2013, Forbes said the £14million ($20million) artist did not want his art to be worth anything.
Who is Banksy and has his identity ever been revealed?
SWNS:South West News Service Massive Attack star Robert Del Naja has been rumoured to be Banksy
Rumours have long circulated about the true identity of street artist Banksy.
A number of people claim to have spotted him at work but no sighting has ever been officially confirmed while other clues have been used to try and unmask the legend.
- Robin Gunningham was an early candidate to be "revealed" as the man behind Banksy in 2008. Years later researchers at Queen Mary University of London used "geographic profiling" to match the locations of Banksy paintings to a pub, playing fields and residential addresses with links to Gunningham. Representatives for the artist have denied the theory.
- Robert Del Naja was touted as the anonymous artist in 2017 when Bristol DJ Goldie appeared to name the Massive Attack member, a personal friend, in an interview. He said: "No disrespect to Rob, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over."
- Liverpool pub sighting – A photo showing a man wearing a high-vis jacket appearing to start work on a painting of a giant white rat on the White Horse pub in Liverpool in 2004 sparked speculation Banksy had finally been unmasked.
- Bethlehem pictures – William Kasper, from London, believed he had unmasked the graffiti king with pictures captured in 2007. Members of the public later identified the painter as James Ame – also known as aka AM72 – a UK painter who lives in Israel.
- Bristol video footage – Grainy 47-second clip shows a man in a hoodie and a painter's face mask using stencils and cardboard to spray fresh graffiti in an underpass in Bansky's native Bristol in 2010.
- Dismaland sighting – In 2015, fans were convinced they spotted a man who they thought might look like Banksy outside his Dismaland installation in Weston-super-Mare. But to their disappointment, it was later revealed to be a parking attendant from the local council.
The artist at work at The White Horse pub in Liverpool (left) and the finished mural (right)
What famous art has Banksy created?
Banksy has left his street art all over the world but has been most prolific in the UK.
The guerrilla artist is known to have created more than 120 works spanning three decades.
Here are a handful which have helped make his name.
- There is Always Hope – London
Arguably Banksy’s most iconic piece, it appeared in South Bank, London, in around 2002. The title is written behind a young girl seen reaching for a balloon in the shape of a heart.
- EU flag – Dover
One of the guerrilla artist's latest work is a Brexit-inspired piece erected in Dover last year.
It features a workman on a ladder removing one of the bright yellow stars following Britain's decision to leave the European Union
Reuters The artwork close to the Kent port town's ferry terminal features a workman on a ladder removing one of the bright yellow stars
- GCHQ Government Spies Telephone Box – Cheltenham
In April 2014, he created a piece near to GCHQ in Cheltenham of three men wearing sunglasses and using listening devices to snoop on a telephone box.
It followed revelations from files leaked by former CIA agent Edward Snowden about the surveillance techniques used by intelligence agencies.
SWNS:South West News Service One of Banksy's best known works of three men wearing sunglasses and using listening devices to snoop on a telephone box near GCHQ in Cheltenham
- Draw The Raised Bridge – Hull
This work shows a young boy wearing a helmet and cape alongside the words "Draw the raised bridge" and appeared in January, 2018.
But councillors immediately called for the mural to be cleaned off – although they admit it is "mindbogglingly brilliant".
Within three days the boy was completely covered in white paint, sparking fury from residents.
SWNS:South West News Service The Bansky mural appeared for a short time in Hull
What is his most recent artwork all about?
Banky's latest mural protests the imprisonment of Zehra Dogan and is painted on the Bowery in New York City, USA.
The 70-foot-long mural was unveiled on March 15, 2018, and focuses on Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan, who was sentenced last March for painting the destruction of Nusaybin, a Turkish town, which depicted the country's flag flying over rubble.
Dogan posted her watercolour painting to social media and was subsequently arrested and sentenced.
Banksy's image of her behind bars depicts the last bar as a pencil, and next to the mural is a call for her release.
The mural has been painted on the historic Bowery Wall, which was made famous by artist Keith Haring during the 1980s.
Could this be Banksy creating one of his iconic pieces of art on a Bristol street