When those scientists set out to discover the true identity of Banksy, it would be safe to assume that once the name was published, journalists would be on a mission to discover as much as they could about the man who has been a mystery since 2001. Now, friends, teammates and the people who helped created some of his most famous work have let little details slip about the man himself.
Who would have thought that it all began with a soccer team, some Mexican resistance and his extensive knowledge and love of art.
When Robin Gunningham’s local soccer team journeyed to the southern most tip of Mexico where the Zapatistas resistant movement was alive and thriving back in 2001, he joined them. One thing they all noticed was the easy access to Coca Cola, yet no running water. This made him want to crush the capitalist system:
There is a side of my work that wants to crush the whole system, leaving a trail of the blue and lifeless corpses of judges and coppers in my wake, dragging the city to its knees as it screams my name. Then there is the other darker side.
Jasper Beese, a handsome man with a nose ring, established a trade link from Bristol to Chiapas.
He convinced his ethical grocery company, Essential Trading Cooperative which supplies Whole Foods in London, to sell Zapatista coffee bought direct from the communities they had visited. An additional 60 cents per two pounds of coffee sold goes to Kiptik to build more water access. Beese says Kiptik has raised around $150,000 since that first trip to Mexico.
What all began in a pub and with a soccer club eventually became Banksy’s fame. A highly politically-concious area, all the people living in the close community in Bristol knew that speaking to the media would contravene Banksy’s painting expeditions.
The trip may have changed all of their lives, but Beese, Simpson and Banksy are still the same when they are down at the Plough.
“If he turns up in the pub we have a drink with him but you wouldn’t be phoning up your mates going ‘Banksy’s in the pub,’” said Beese. “You’d just say, ‘How’s it going?’ He’s just a guy that does graffiti and has done quite well out of it.”
He said Banksy had never asked people not to speak to the media about his true identity. They had just all played along.
“We all knew him as Banksy from the pub,” said Beese. “Although, I thought his name was Robin Banks.”
It is believed that Robin Banks was Gunningham’s first street nickname—a pun based on his real first name that later transformed into Banksy.
Read the full article HERE. It might just inspire you.
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