"The British graffiti artist Banksy likes pizza, though his preference in toppings cannot be definitively ascertained. He has a gold tooth. He has a silver tooth. He has a silver earring. He’s an anarchist environmentalist who travels by chauffeured S.U.V. He was born in 1978, or 1974, in Bristol, England—no, Yate. The son of a butcher and a housewife, or a delivery driver and a hospital worker, he’s fat, he’s skinny, he’s an introverted workhorse, he’s a breeze-shooting exhibitionist given to drinking pint after pint of stout. For a while now, Banksy has lived in London: if not in Shoreditch, then in Hoxton. Joel Unangst, who had the nearly unprecedented experience of meeting Banksy last year, in Los Angeles, when the artist rented a warehouse from him for an exhibition, can confirm that Banksy often dresses in a T-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. When Unangst is asked what adorns the T-shirts, he will allow, before fretting that he has revealed too much already, that they are covered with smudges of white paint."
The creative fields have long had their shadowy practitioners, figures whose identities, whether because of scandalous content (the author of “Story of O”), fear of ostracism (Joe Klein), aversion to nepotism (Stephen King’s son Joe Hill), or conceptual necessity (Sacha Baron Cohen), remain, at least for a time, unknown. Anonymity enables its adopter to seek fame while shielding him from the meaner consequences of fame-seeking. In exchange for ceding credit, he is freed from the obligations of authorship. Banksy, for instance, does not attend his own openings. He may miss out on the accolades, but he’ll never spend a Thursday evening, from six to eight, picking at cubes of cheese...."
Continued at newyorker.com