Is Banksy Really The Man In The Bowler Hat?

Ashley Hunte
Artwork made by Banksy, which was torn down last week.
instagram | @banksy

For decades now, popular British artist Banksy has been creating mysterious and thought-provoking artwork that has resonated around the world. For just as long, though, no one has known the identity of the artist (or, as some theorize, whether Banksy really is just one person).

But now, some believe that they may have caught a glimpse of the person behind the persona -- and he might be a lover of bowler hats.

A Mystery Man Was Spotted At A UK Construction Site.

A mysterious man in a bowler hat walks around a large fenced area.
Kent Online | Kent Online

Locals of Herne Bay spotted a mystery man in a bowler hat snapping shots of a building that was set to be demolished on Wednesday.

A Day Later, The Building Had A Banksy Original On It.

"Morning is Broken," as seen on a worn down building, just hours before it was demolished.
Kent Online | Kent Online

Not only that, but the building ended up being demolished. According to KMTV, the construction crew didn't know the artwork, called Morning is Broken, was a genuine Banksy.

But The Man Returned.

The man took pictures of the art and construction crew.
Kent Online | Kent Online

This time, he began taking pictures of the construction crew.

Locals Rushed Onto The Scene To See The Banksy Original

Construction crew use heavy machinery to tear the building down.
Kent Online | Kent Online

By then, of course, the building was already demolished, and the artwork was destroyed.

Though, Much Of It Still Remains.

The remnants of the now-destroyed art installation.
Kent Online | Kent Online

A Banksy fan and expert named John Brandler told the news station, "We can restore this. This isn’t a major disaster if we are given access to the property and can sort it out."

The Mystery Man Lingered On The Scene For Some Time.

The man takes more pictures of construction crew.
Kent Online | Kent Online

Taking pictures of the demolition, the construction crew, and possibly the artwork itself, the man had been on the scene long enough for a number of locals to spot him. As of now, the man's identity is unknown, though many believe that this man truly is Banksy.

The Building Banksy Tagged Was Centuries-Old.

The man speaks with the construction crew as they demolish the building.
Kent Online | Kent Online

The farmhouse was hundreds of years old, having been destroyed to make way for a housing project in the area.

The Man Did Not Confirm His Identity

The mystery man walked away from reporters without giving an interview.
Kent Online | Kent Online

Once news stations arrived in the area, the mystery man decided to take his leave. Allegedly, he laughed whenever anyone suggested he could be Banksy.

He declined requests for interviews.

While The Art Is Gone, Pictures Of It Live On.

At some point, Banksy did take a picture of the work, as well as it being destroyed, and uploaded it to their Instagram account.

Titled Morning is Broken, the piece featured the silhouette of a boy and cat over top a boarded-up window. The boy is opening a set of curtains, which had been fashioned out of bent metal sheets.

Banksy's Art Has Been A Hot Topic For Decades.

Banksy has been producing art since the 1990s, working primarily within the UK. But, they have also traveled to parts of the US such as New York City, and other cities around the world.

Banksy's Art Is Known For Pushing The Envelope.

In addition to messages that are often political or humanitarian in nature, Banksy has not been afraid to put on a show. For instance, the Banksy work, Balloon Girl, was shredded shortly after being sold for $1.4 million (and then was later sold again for $24 million, post-shredding).

All The While, No One Knows Banksy's True Identity.

Despite being one of the most famous living artists, no one knows their true identity.

That Hasn't Stopped People From Speculating, Though.

Over the years, theories have spread about Banksy's identity. The artist has had close shaves with being ousted as well.

Banksy May Have Appeared During The Pandemic In 2020.

In a video uploaded by Banksy, a man in a hazmat suit and mask walks around the London subway, spray painting images of rats coughing or wearing masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had begun earlier that year.

In The Video, We Get Glimpses Of The Man's Face.

While it's possible that the man under the mask truly was Banksy, the public was still no closer to learning his identity at the time.

There Are Many Theories As To Who Banksy Could Be.

Over the years, many have speculated artists such as Robin Gunningham, Neil Buchanan, and Billy Gannon could be the real Banksy, though those have been debunked.

Some Even Believe That Banksy Could Be Multiple People.

Another popular theory is that Banksy isn't just one artist, but actually a group of artists who work in unison. Of course, there's been no concrete evidence to prove this.

A 20-Year-Old Interview May Have Held The Key To Banksy's Identity.

In 2003, a reporter from The Guardian interviewed a man who had claimed to be Banksy, whose face was partially covered by his shirt. But that eventually led to a dead end.

Now, The World Has Another Potential Lead On Banksy's Identity.

It may never be confirmed, though the locals at the scene last week believe the man in the bowler hat really was the elusive artist.

h/t New York Post