CULTURE & ARTS

All The Times Investigators Claimed They Discovered The REAL Banksy

It's a long list.

British street artist Banksy has been trolling the world at large since the 1990s. He (or she) stencils rats and bobbies on walls across the U.K. and beyond, only taking breaks to direct documentaries or paint elephants or build parody amusement parks. The usual stuff. All while we have no idea who the man (or woman) behind the pseudonym is. 

A recent attempt to pin the tail on the graffitist occurred in September of 2015, during the run of Banksy's much talked about "Dismaland" exhibition, in which he created an entire theme park filled with his typically dark and cheeky art. A staffer at the Disneyland-on-acid "bemusement park" claimed he might have spotted the anonymous artist working as -- wait for it -- a parking attendant. 

Yup, according to The Daily Mail, Banksy just might have been parking cars right. Under. Our. Noses. It's a haughty claim, coming from a media outlet notorious in its efforts to unmask the street artist. The reasoning? Well, they have a 2008 picture of someone they claim could be Banksy, and have compared that photo to an image of a parking attendant present at Dismaland this month and voila! The men in each picture look kind of similar, therefore they must be the same man, therefore they/he must be Banksy. Mystery solved. Cue hand wiping gesture.

Except, wait. We've seen this before. We've been all hot and bothered about the prospect of truly knowing the unknowable, to borrow a phrase from Donald Rumsfeld. And we've been let down. Because with every "Holy S**t! This Is Banksy!" headline comes a period of doubt and resentment. The street artist neither confirms nor denies the outings, we start to scrutinize the grainy photos and unreliable "sources," and we're left feeling like John Snow. WE KNOW NOTHING.

So before you pop your decades-old bottle of champagne, the one you've been saving for this very occasion, remember all the times we thought we'd caught Banksy, but dammit, we did not:

September 2006: Maybe his name is Robert Banksy? But, like, that seems silly. 

July 2008: Graffiti artist Banksy unmasked ... as a former public schoolboy from middle-class suburbia. Some people agree. There seems to be a bit of evidence. No confirmation though.

March 2011: Mrs. Banksy unmasked: pictured for the first time, the elusive wife of the world's most secretive artist. Mmmkay. Stetching a little. 

September 2012: It's Gordon Banksy! Graffiti artist pictured on football tour of Mexico in 2001 taking time out to paint a mural. How nice of him!

February 2013: Banksy arrested, real identity revealed? Um, no. Ok, getting skeptical.

October 2013: Is this Banksy? Probably not.

April 2014: Has Banksy finally been caught on camera? Errrr, seems unlikely.

October 2014: Banksy identity revealed? Sigh. Nah, man

November 2014: Unmasking Banksy: is elusive street artist really a woman? 💁

January 2015: Graffiti artist Banksy SPOTTED for second time in a month -- this time in Lake District bistro. Yeesh, no.

April 2015: Banksy is a woman -- has handed herself into the police. Not real.

September 2015: Is Banksy working as a parking attendant at his own theme park? Lol, we give up. 

UPDATE -- March 2016: Scientists say they can identify Banksy using a sophisticated statistical analysis technique often used in criminology to locate repeat offenders. Their man? Robin Gunningham. The NYT is not entirely convinced.

Now that we're all sufficiently inundated with information, feeling confused, exhausted and probably hungry, we leave you with the immortal words of Blink-182 frontman Mark Hoppus. Because it's all that makes sense to us right now.

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