I always liked the idea that people don't know who he is...
But I guess thats a hard thing to keep private these days.
Underground artist Banksy unmasked by British
BANKSY, the mysterious guerilla artist famed for his lightning graffiti art attacks, has been unmasked, with his photo appearing in British newspapers this weekend.
He is a 34-year-old former public schoolboy called Robin Gunningham, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The newspaper said it identified the British artist from a photograph taken four years ago in Jamaica, which shows a man kneeling by a spray can.
A spokeswoman for Banksy declined to comment.
"We get these calls all the time," she told the BBC.
"I'll say what I always say: I never confirm or deny these stories".
The Mail on Sunday's picture was taken by Jamaican photographer Peter Dean Rickards.
It first appeared on the internet and then in the Mail's sister publication, The Evening Standard, in 2004.
Former friends and acquaintances identified the man in the picture as Robin Gunningham.
Scott Nurse, who went to the �9420 ($19,318) a year Bristol Cathedral School with Gunningham, said he was "extremely talented at art".
"I am not at all surprised if he is Banksy," he was quoted as saying.
Luke Egan, an artist who later exhibited with Banksy initially denied knowing Gunningham, but then confirmed he had shared a flat with him.
Asked whether Gunningham was Banksy, he replied: "Well, he wasn't then".
Gunningham's father Peter said he did not recognise the person in the photograph, while his mother Pamela said she didn't have a son.
Banksy's agent Steve Lazarides told The New Yorker it was not Banksy, but Colin Saysell, an anti-graffiti officer in Bristol who has followed Banksy for years, said the photo was legitimate.
Banksy's stencilled artwork appears unannounced in public spaces around the world.
In January a piece of his graffiti in Portobello Road, west London - which shows a painter finishing off the word "Banksy" - attracted a bid of �208,100 in an online auction.
But the artist is also renowned for his audacious stunts - such as leaving a life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee at Disneyland in 2006.
His fiercely guarded identity only adds to his subversive appeal - and members of the Hollywood elite including Christina Aguilera and Angelina Jolie have snapped up his paintings.
Banksy has insisted the public should never discover who he is.
"I have no interest in ever coming out," he once told Swindle magazine.
"I'm just trying to make the pictures look good; I'm not into trying to make myself look good.
The only solid biographical fact about the artist is that he was born and raised in Bristol.
It has often been rumoured that his real name is Robin Banks and that his parents think he is a painter and decorator - but no one close to Banksy has ever verified these stories, the BBC said.