Monday, July 14, 2008

Banksy and me...

I seem to have stepped into a bit of drama without even knowing about it. Here's some facts from me:

I used to own a house in Bristol
I don't live there any more
I used to curate shows at here gallery, Bristol
I don't anymore

When I moved into my house in Bristol there was a load of rubbish in the garden which included two old fridges, many bin bags full of special brew cans, part of an old truck and a couple of pieces of hardboard with work by Banksy on.

I threw it all away.

I threw it away because it was rubbish.

On occasion I have indeed been kept awake at night thinking about how much money I could've made from selling those two pieces, but then I remind myself of the reason I threw them away- they were rubbish. At the time Banksy was just another person in Bristol putting up stencil graffiti. Admittedly some of it was pretty clever, but the stuff I threw away was rubbish. As a curator I have never been that interested in street art (although we've had several shows at the here gallery featuring it, and indeed used to sell Banksy screenprints there) and the ONLY reason i've ever regretting throwing that stuff away is because i've seen the crazy prices people are paying for stuff by Banksy.

Last week the Mail on Sunday phoned me up to talk about Banksy. They'd got my name from the electoral roll and seen I was living in the same house as the person they've named as Banksy. I confirmed I lived there, told them I threw stuff away and confirmed I used to get post addressed to the person they named. I didn't ask to remain anonymous because i've never actually been interviewed for a tabloid newspaper before and didn't really think i'd end up being quoted as a key source- I just thought it was funny that they'd phoned me.

Since then the story has been reported on the BBC, Yahoo, in the Sun, various other places and this morning ITV turned up at the door of the gallery asking to talk to me. I've been contacted by The Telegraph and the gallery has had calls from ABC.

It's a bit funny to be involved in this, but to be honest it's also pretty scary. I've always been really free and easy with my details on the internet, thinking that there wasn't anything I didn't want anyone to know about, and that I believe people are basically good and not given to stalking as a rule. I still think that, but it's made me realise how easy it can be to find stuff out about people if you really want to.

I'm sure this will all blow over pretty soon- i'm pretty sure I haven't exposed the real Banksy, not that I really care either way. I'd always presumed he was a white, middle class Bristol boy and have been surprised to see that other people had different ideas about him. Who cares who he is anyway?

I do wish my full name hadn't been included in these reports, but so far I don't seem to have been attacked by a crazed stencil graffiti crew in balaclava's so I think Banksy's secret's safe for now.

10 comments:

Laura B said...

What an interesting turn of events! I'll need to go and check out Banksy I've no idea who he is or his work. It would make a great story, how your life took a new path through some rubbish you tipped years ago?

this chicken said...

Oh wow! What an unusual story! Like you, I have always been quite free about talking about myself on the net. I guess it takes something like this to bring the consequences (if you can call them that) of it into reality.

But living in Banksy's old house, I suppose that is quite an interesting claim to fame :) I've been a fan of his stuff for many years, but like you, it doesn't really bother me 'who' he is.

I hope it all calms down for you soon, that the press leave you be and you get your life back to normal :)

Ben said...

hi milla,

you can add Radio Bristol, CBS, and Newsnight to that list.

they've been playing Chinese whispers too. the guy from Newsnight seemed to think you actually lived with Banksy, next they'll be saying he's your lovechild...ha ha

Ben

Rachel said...

I thought you might enjoy hearing that, when I read about the article online, my first thought was 'oh, I hope Milla's okay' and I came straight here. Tabloid newspapers are hardly known for being fair or honest with their 'sources'.

Definitely far more interested in your artwork than in Banksy!

ismoyo said...

Wow what a story. I really appreciate the work by Banksy and i know you know good art when you see it, so i trust what you threw out was really rubish. I think he also wouldn't have left it if it wasn't.
Crazy that it led to so much publicity, hope everyone treats you with respect!

Ruth Singer said...

blimey. how very odd.
hope it calms down soon!

green phoenix said...

What a small world, came over from flickr, read about banksy, had a big conversation about his revealed identity at the weekend but hadn't heard/read anything about you.
Also contacted the here gallery quite recently about submitting some work.

Coincidental to me at least!

Nice to meet you anyway,

Nicky

claire-elizabeth said...

thats a different weekend to the norm then! thats pretty crazy how they chased you up too! mmm!

Gaina said...

Ewww, The Daily Wail, poor you! In this age of data protection, I am sure they have broken some kind of privacy laws?

Apparently you can go 'ex-directory' and not appear on the public electoral role - I think if you get in touch with the council that's your best place to start.

Mark said...

"... I've always been really free and easy with my details on the internet, thinking that there wasn't anything I didn't want anyone to know about, and that I believe people are basically good and not given to stalking as a rule. I still think that, but it's made me realise how easy it can be to find stuff out about people if you really want to."

I think thats a bit naive to be honest !! You should be careful what information you give away - especially on the internet ! and definitely dont go giving away information about other people - ESPECIALLY to newspaper reporter scum paparazzi !!!!!!