04 September 2016

Speculation Rules the Nation

Robert Del Naja, Bristol, 1985

Dubious hypothesis of the week, "street art" edition: According to a blogger in Glasgow, Banksy is really Robert "3D" Del Naja of Massive Attack. After all, if the Daily Mail deems that a dog worth chasing, then it must be true.

News of which has me walking to my book shelves and pulling out a couple of old volumes. First up, 3D as he appeared in the 2-page spread devoted to Bristol in the Henry Chalfant & James Prigoff title Spraycan Art, Thames & Hudson, 1987...

The other half of the spread being devoted to a young, pre-Metalheadz Goldie.

Next up is the volume Scrawl (1999, via Booth-Clibborn Editions), which features exactly one piece by Del Naja, but also depicts four graffiti murals by up-and-comer "Robin Banks," aka Bansky...

Comparing the two, I'd say that Banks's can control and and compositional sense in 1998 weren't quite as nuanced as Del Naja's had been some 12 years prior.

Bansky has said in the past that the work 3D had originally inspired him to pick up a spraycan and stencils. What's more, in the  Booth-Clibborn title, he's quoted as saying that members of Massive Attack were among the first clients to buy some of his canvases. (Meaning that Banksy haters can blame Del Naja & co. for helping the guy get a leg up.)

The Glaswegian sleuth Craig Williams cites as evidence that Banksy murals have a habit of popping up in various locations that seem the follow Massive Attack's international tour route. The only thing this prompts me to wonder is: Who, then, is the more obsessive Massive Attack fan -- Banksy, or Mr. Williams? Either way, I'd assume Del Naja already has a lot on his plate between the demands of his music career and also continuing to produce visual work in a variety of other graphic mediums. Enough so, that I image it'd be difficult to access the surplus time and energy it'd take to maintain a third career as a stealthy, nocturnal, internationally-renowned hit-and-run graffiti artist.*

Anyway, about that recent work of Del Naja's, here's a few samples...

Actually, I once bought what I thought was a Banksy. But when I got it home I saw that it was signed "Peter Doige."

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*  Pure deduction on my part. Because Del Naja's the same age as me; and I know I don't have that kind of time or energy, anymore.

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