Leaked Photos Show Banksy at Work

A photographer in Bristol in the U.K. shared 20-year-old photos of Banksy, who normally stays out of public view.

By
Benjamin M. Adams

Photos over 20 years old show the enigmatic artist known as Banksy at work, painting a 17-ton train car in Malaga, Spain that is now worth nearly $2 million dollars. Little did the artist know that a man who was talking to him took a photo and held on to it all these years.

Gloucester Live reports that the never-before-seen photos of Banksy that emerged show the artist painting his biggest ever artwork.

The train car was called The Turbozone Truck, it went up for auction with the starting price of £1 million ($1.27 million USD)  to £1.5m ($1.9 million USD) after it was authenticated by his studio. The photos also appear to be authentic as it is a well-known piece by the artist.

“I used to spend a lot of time in Bristol,” the unidentified photographer said. “Our friends told us about this party that was going on in Spain and we thought why not? At the time we were very aware of Banksy’s stuff when it was popping up, but he was still quite under the radar.”

The pictures were taken in the early hours of a New Year’s Day party in Malaga. At the time, they had no idea how big Banksy would eventually become after he blew up.

“Then we were at the party and saw this guy painting—the three of us just turned to each other and said it’s got to be Banksy!” he said. “Little did we know at the time he would go on to become one of the most famous artists in the world.”

The photographer then says he approached the man and asked him if he was the elusive street artist, and says the man confirmed he was Banksy. 

“It wasn’t much of a conversation–-I remember we said how we’d seen some of his work in Bristol, as far as I remember, he had been flown over from Bristol.”

The train car featuring Banksy’s artwork spent years traveling from Europe to South America as part of a tour for Turbozone’s Cinderella show. It is also featured in Banksy’s official book, Wall and Piece, which was published in 2006 and authenticated by the artist via his studio, Pest Control.

The identity of Banksy has never been revealed officially, however a number of names have been linked with Banksy in the past: Robert Del Naja, Robin Gunningham, Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan. Gunningham is probably among the best theories for Banksy’s identity, BBC reports. Banksy’s former agent Steve Lazarides claimed to show the artist at work in a separate photo, although none of the images new or old show his face. 

Banksy Loves Buddha

The enigma known only as Banksy re-entered the world of cannabis with a new permanent installation in a Toronto, Ontario-based dispensary in 2020. The unofficial king of guerrilla art—in the form of graffiti—left a breadcrumb trail of mystery throughout Europe and across the world through stark political messages and epigrams. But now, the vandal’s art can be appreciated by cannabis consumers who often share his political beliefs.

Tokyo Smoke brand announced its new cannabis retail store in Toronto, Ontario—as well as its permanent installation of an exclusive Banksy collection of art. The collection will feature “never-before-seen” works from the artist, as well as other notable pieces from other artists.

The store was armed with plexiglass dividers at the retail counter and reminders to observe social distancing. Tokyo Smoke, which is a subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corp., opened the new location on 21 Bloor St. E. and the property is wheelchair accessible. 

The artist appears to favor hash resin, a common item found in the U.K. and Europe. In 2003, for instance, the artist illegally hung his own art at the esteemed Tate Britain—formerly called the National Gallery of British Art—in an act he said was inspired by cannabis resin. His self-hung piece was entitled, “Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us,” and was placed next to a 19th century landscape.

Like all of his public pieces, it carried a political message buried in dark humor. Each time a Banksy piece is spotted, the media loses their minds.

Banksy’s famous piece “Rage Flower Thrower” depicted a Black Bloc-looking protester throwing a bouquet of flowers instead of a Molotov cocktail. The Rage Flower Thrower, however, has been marketed as “Weed Thrower” on T-shirts and other merchandise on Ebay.

The artist is best known for “Girl With Balloon,” a stenciled graffiti painting in East London. In 2018, a “Girl With Balloon” print was auctioned off in London at Sotheby’s for £1.042 million—only to self-destruct moments later. It was one of the latest of Banksy’s antics that once again shocked the world.

Benjamin M. Adams

Benjamin M. Adams is Staff Writer at High Times, and has written for Vice, Forbes, HuffPost, The Advocate, Culture, and many other publications. He holds a Bachelor of Communication from Southern New Hampshire University.

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