His identity has remained mysteriously anonymous for decades, but it looks as though we might finally know who Banksy is.
A team of scientists at Queen Mary University of London claim to have proved they know the graffiti artist’s identity through the process of “geographic profiling”.
The research, titled Tagging Banksy, concluded that Banksy is indeed Robin Gunningham, the Bristol native who was “unmasked” as Banksy in 2008.
Tagging Banksy identifies a link between the locations where his graffiti works appear most frequently and addresses with a close association to Cunningham.
A total of 140 works in London and Bristol were selected by the academics, which helped them establish hot spots which could be narrowed down to pinpoint the individual. The hot spots were a pub, playing fields, a residential address in Bristol and three addresses in London.
Using information that is available publicly, the researchers concluded that these places were either residences of or frequently visited by Gunningham.
The academics claim that the same process could be used to track down serial criminals.
The pseudonymous artist Banksy is one of the UK’s most successful contemporary artists, but his identity remains a mystery. “The model takes as input the locations of these artworks, and calculates the probability of ‘offender’ residence across the study area,” they wrote.
“Our analysis highlights areas associated with one prominent candidate (e.g., his home), supporting his identification as Banksy. More broadly, these results support previous suggestions that analysis of minor terrorism-related acts (e.g., graffiti) could be used to help locate terrorist bases before more serious incidents occur, and provides a fascinating example of the application of the model to a complex, real-world problem.”