Is This Guy Banksy?

Photo: Courtesy of MySpace

According to an anonymous waitress and several people drinking at a bar on a weeknight, he just might be! Acting on a tip from a Gawker reader that Banksy had stenciled something on the side of West Village pub Thunder Jacksons on Thursday ("While he was outside doing his stencil sombody [sic] asked if he was banksy and he said he was"), Animal New York's Bucky Turco went and photographed the painting. After commenters pointed out that the stenciling was actually by Nick Walker, another Bristol, England, artist with a similar vandalistic M.O., Turco spoke to a Thunder Jacksons waitress who said, "Banksy is Nick Walker, they are the same person. Oops, I don't think I was supposed to say that … He uses that identity because of visa and passport issues." She purportedly claims that the elusive shit-starting artist is going to reveal his identity soon, but not while he's in New York. "He has a whole master PR plan, but he's waiting till he leaves the country."

So is Banksy really Nick Walker? We doubt it. First of all, Walker's work, despite its obvious aesthetic similarities, seems a good deal less clever than Banksy's, although maybe that's part of the charade. What really makes us skeptical is this 2003 Guardian profile by Simon Hattenstone, one of the few journalists who's interviewed Banksy in person. In it, Hattenstone says he looks like "a cross between [British actor-singer] Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of the Streets," a description fitting the schlubby dude in the photo that Banksy's PR firm tried to cease and desist off the Internet last year. Walker (seen above in a picture from his MySpace page), though, would obviously be better described as "the Polyphonic Spree's Tim DeLaughter wearing a beret and lab coat."

So why would Walker claim to be Banksy? And, if he were Banksy, why would he out himself and his "master PR plan" to a random waitress and a bunch of bar patrons? Who knows! We're sure Walker will be in a rush to clear up the confusion, though, considering the detrimental effect it's probably having on his sales.

Earlier: So What Does Banksy Look Like, Anyway?

Earlier: So What Does Banksy Look Like, Anyway?