Lawsuit against Banksy could force the artist to reveal their identity

While it has been reported that his first name is "Robbie," if the suit proceeds to court, the artist may be required to reveal his full identity.
"The Umbrella girl" a reproduction of a mural by British artist Banksy.
Posted at 4:54 PM, Mar 11, 2024

Art collectors are suing Banksy, the famously mysterious graffiti artist, to authenticate a print, potentially pushing him to disclose his identity.

According to a report by The Guardian, art collectors Nicky Katz and Ray Howse are suing Banksy’s company, Pest Control. They claim Pest Control has refused to authenticate their print of “Monkey Queen,” a depiction of the late Queen Elizabeth as a bejeweled monkey, which they purchased for around £30,000 ($38,430) in 2020.

“We’re in no man’s land, and it’s a lot of money. They claim to be the official validators of this artist’s work. But this has been going on for three years,” Katz told The Guardian. “They’re just sitting on the fence — they won’t say whether it’s right or wrong. We have had our tails pulled for the whole three years.”

Banksy, famous for his graffiti art, calls himself a "quality vandal," and his real identity has been a big secret for a long time, intriguing both the media and the public. In 2023, the BBC reported "Robbie" as his first name, but his full name remains unknown. If the lawsuit proceeds to court, the artist may be required to reveal his complete identity.

“We’re suing Pest Control for breach of contract. They’ve had three years to do what I paid them [£50/$64] to do, which by any standard is plenty of time to deal with the situation," said Katz. “You’ve had the work; you’ve inspected it. Is it right or is it wrong? That’s the service that you claim to provide. If it’s wrong, that’s OK, because we will have a claim on the estate the piece was bought from. If it’s right, great. Just give us the paperwork we need to validate it. They’re not providing a proper service.”

Pest Control defended itself, telling The Guardian that their verification process is comprehensive and sometimes lengthy.