The Banksy Story – a new 10-part podcast for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds – is set to reveal unheard stories about the graffiti artist’s life and work. As well as delving deep into the figure's journey “from street artist to global phenomenon”, and uncovering events unpublished until now, the podcast also claims to include a five-minute recording of Banksy’s voice – “Bristolian twang” and all, a press release explains.
The podcast is produced and hosted by Banksy “super fan” James Peak, and features analysis from author and cultural historian John Higgs, as well as interviews with one of Bansky’s ex-employees Steph Warren, who worked at the artists print shop Picture On Walls. After tracing Steph, James spent a year convincing her story. “Steph reveals behind the scenes stories from his tremendous rise, how he got the elite art world on his hook, how he dealt with the increasing pressure of his notoriety, his immense capacity for charity, the way he administrates this secret world, and much more,” a press release says.
One story Steph spotlights in the podcast is Banky’s 2005 Crude Oils show, the first time she encountered Banky’s father. “I remember this one guy stood away from the crowd, then one of the guys helping out in the background said that’s actually Banksy’s dad. I knew that Banksy had told his parents that he was a painter and decorator, because we'd laughed when they'd had to do a show in Vienna, his parents had asked ‘did they not have painters and decorators in Vienna?’,” she recalls. “And so for the Crude Oils show, he’d revealed himself to his parents. And his dad had come down to see, and was looking completely open mouthed at what his son had created. And I sort of brought him in and showed him the work… I think he was just completely astounded at what was transpiring, you know?.”
The suspected recording of Banky’s voice arises after the podcast delves into a series of stunts he carried out across arts institutions in New York, including the MET, where he placed his own artworks on the walls. In the aftermath, an individual claiming to be Banksy was interviewed by a US radio station. Voiced in a Southern English accent with a noticeably Bristolian-twang, “they display a mischievous sense of humour, explain why and how they pulled off the museum stunts and in doing so, subtly satirise the art world”, the press release explains.
From a small excerpt they say; “I think it’s testament to the frame of mind most people are in when they’re in a museum really. Most people don’t really notice things and let the world go by… For instance in the Met, they hung a Henri Matisse painting upside down for 42 days I believe it was, until someone told them it was round the wrong way. I was aiming for at least 42 days, but unfortunately didn’t get that far.”
The Banksy Story: BBC Sounds Brand Template (Copyright © BBC, 2023)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.