We met up with the perpetually elusive Brit artist Banksy at a pub in Soho London, the same pub ironically where J.K Rowling allegedly met her future publishing agent Christopher Little. Banksy wore a woollen mask and shades. Our reporter from "Hoodwinked" recorded the conversation.
Q. Would you call yourself a capitalist?
B. No way. Loathe it.
Q. Why do you stay incognito?
B. Helps the brand.
Q. Your latest project... "Dismaland". It's a sort of arty playground for kids isn't it?
B. Sort of.
Q. Anything to do with the Harry Potter craze still sweeping the world? I mean Dismaland is like a graffiti Potter theme park is it not? A tad obvious don't you think? Sort of like a marketing stunt for Brit art rolling off the Potter bandwagon.
B. Never entered my head.
Q. Do you know Rowling?
Q. Damien Hirst?
Q. You have collaborated with Hirst in the past. One of your joint works sold for 1.8 million not so long ago. They say the multi millionaire and self-confessed Freemason Damien Hirst is financing your extravagant art projects on behalf of his paymasters. The Brit art market is very big business is it not?
B. I hardly know Hirst.
Q. You have his stuff at Dismaland. Have you anything to do with the Masons?
Q. Bristol is a haven for Freemasons is it not? Where Rowling comes from. It seems you are all one big happy club all eating from the same cultural trough, all peddling the same ideas, none of which seem to be your own, but have been created by real artists whom the publishing and media gurus make damn sure we never hear of. Even your latest mural in Paris is basically a copy of the Les Miserables famous film poster. Does everything belong to you alone? Is it all a big joke Banksy... even plagiarism? Especially plagiarism?
B. I don't like where this is going.
Q. You did a large gouache painting called "Masons" that sold for a colossal sum recently in Sothebys. Some would see that as a typical Masonic joke.... of the "catch us if you can" variety. Hirst also includes a rat in his paintings. Is that an insider joke too... an in-house "let's-take-the-piss" wisecrack on the original stencil art genius Blek le Rat whose work you were familiar with in the nineties. Did both you and Hirst rip off Blek le Rat... for fun? Or is Monsieur Rat also running with the pack?
B. You can say what you like about art and artists. It is all true and all lies. Take your pick.
Q. It is said you ripped off The Bogside Artists, the original street political muralists dealing with social conflict from Northern Ireland. Not only their murals but, more importantly, their manifesto in which they describe in exhaustive detail what they believe real art is and what it can be used for.
B. Never heard of them.
Q. Michael Shurman claims that it was he who first painted 'alien heads' in Bristol and Glastonbury in 2004, an image which has become synonymous with you. And that you, Tracey Emin and Hirst are a front for an art business cabal created by Masonic business shrewdies eager to get inflated prices for plagiarised art products done by their stable of wannabe artists. That you rip off other artists on command to boost this market. Rowling herself has taken over sixty people to court last count who claimed she stole their work. Nancy Stouffer being one, who created a character called Muggle and who got ruined in court by Rowling's ruthless lawyers Schillings for her pains. Who is your lawyer, Banksy?
B. None of your business.
Q. Shurman goes so far as to claim that you also ripped off his very persona and that you and Hirst are protected by the establishment. Shurman claims that not a single leading Brit gallery will take him on because they know all this is true. The coven who run the Brit art market for financial gain encourage you to be anti-establishment as it is good for business. They get you to travel the world doing murals to keep the myth alive that you are a politically engaged artist at the cutting edge of social commentary even though you have declared publicly that political commentary is not your bag and you care little about people in general or what is happening to them. Rowling is also commissioned to ply the same 'politically committed' persona via her Twitter blog read by millions. Also, it is well known now that you have a large team of "helpers" as you call them... who do the murals for you. One cannot help but consider the notion that you are all nothing but tools of the New World Order boys seeking more wealth and power and more control over people's minds.
B. That's crap! You told me this talk was about me and my work. My art is contemporary. Heard of Andy Warhol? The "factory"?
Q. You rip him off too? James Top, one of New York City's graffiti art pioneers has stated that the fact that you have remained anonymous is proof positive that you have very powerful people backing you. Says he... and I quote: "Once you get to his status and no one is secretly taping you, and nobody has tried to exploit this yet? Come on now!?" Just who exactly is creating what in England's art and literature these days Mister Banksy?
B. I have to go.
Q. Stay hidden Banksy. That's the best advice I can give.
B. Get lost!