Could Massive Attack Founder Robert Del Naja be the Real Banksy?

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
September 02, 2016

Could Massive Attack Founder Robert Del Naja be the Real Banksy?

Robert Del Naja

Robert Del Naja

The elusiveness of Banksy. Officials from around the world and fans alike have been speculating for years about the true identity of the guerrilla graffiti artist, yet no conclusive evidence has ever been found.

The latest theory, forwarded by 31 year old investigative journalist Craig Williams, stakes a claim that the man behind the controversial art is also a man of music: Massive Attack founder Robert “3D” Del Naja. At best, the conclusion states that if Del Naja isn’t Banksy himself, he is at least responsible for a team of people that is behind the project which has appeared in all corners of the globe since its inception in the early-to-mid 90s.

Mr. Williams has been working to unveil the identity of the artist, plotting his murals around the world and discovering that on at least six occasions more than a dozen appeared shortly before or after Massive Attack gigs in the same cities over the past 12 years. This isn’t the first time Del Naja would be linked to Banksy, earlier admitting to being a personal friend. Speculation based on Mr. Williams investigation is that the two may be one person after all, especially considering that the Massive Attack star was a graffiti artist in the 80s.

Banksy Gig Map

Daily Mail story delineates the connections between the two iconic figures with a timeline of coincidental events that plot the band and Banksy’s work appearing in the same cities within the same periods of time.

“According to Craig’s investigation six Banksy murals were reported in San Francisco on May 1, 2010 after Massive Attack performed a two night stint in the city on April 25 and 27.

Massive Attack played Toronto a week later before more new Banksy murals were reported there.

Later on that tour Massive Attack head to Boston’s Chinatown a day after a Banksy appeared there.

Similar patterns are reported in 2006 when Massive Attack embarked on a US tour, which included a slot at the Hollywood Bowl, LA, a week before Banksy’s Barely Legal exhibition in the city.

In 2008 Banksy produced 14 stencils across New Orleans marking the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Del Naja co-wrote the soundtrack to the New Orleans-themed documentary Trouble the Water during the same time frame.

Also in April 2003 Banksy’s work appears in Melbourne, the same city Massive Attack had played the month before.

And in 2013, when the artist’s month long residency in New York kicked off on the 1st October, the dates coincided with Massive Attack’s four night residency in the city between the 28th September and the 4th October at the city’s Park Avenue Armoury.” 

Anyone who has been enthralled by Banksy’s work might remember that Del Naja appeared in the graffiti artist’s Exit Through The Gift Shop movie, discussing the two’s friendship from his early days as a Bristol street artist. Further connecting the two, Banksy provided the foreword to book 3D and the Art of Massive Attack which was released by Del Naja last year.

“But what if Banksy isn’t the one person everyone thinks he is. What if Banksy is a group of people who have stencilling different locations both at home and abroad? Such a rich body of work done over a decade, across the globe, may allow for the suggestion.” said Mr. Williams.

“A rumour exists from 2010 that his work that went up around North America was his work but were not necessarily painted by him, but rather by a street team that happened to be following the Massive Attack tour. And on analysis of his North American work, this makes perfect sense,” concluded the journalist.

Could Banksy and Robert Del Naja really be the same person? Although we aren’t likely to find out any time soon, the theory pushed by Mr. Williams includes the notion that further graffiti will pop up as Massive Attack continues to tour.


Full story on the Daily Mail.