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 Port Talbot in Wales. But just who is he?
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 art 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?
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.
- A collective of artists – another theory is that Banksy is not one person but a team of street artists. In 2016, Scottish journalist Craig Williams claimed that Del Naja was a member of the group.
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
- 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.
- 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.
What is his most recent artwork all about?
Banksy visited Port Talbot on the weekend of December 15 and 16 to paint a mural on a garage wall.
The image – stencilled on two sides of the garage – appears to show a little boy playing in the snow from one angle.
The artist confirmed the art was his by posting a video of it captioned "season's greetings" on Instagram.
Banksy's latest graffiti is thought to be a reference to the steelworks in Port Talbot, Wales, which belch soot and ash over nearby homes.
Houses in the area were left coated in black dust over the summer – sparking fears over the long-term health impact.
“It could start affecting people’s health if something isn’t done about it soon."
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