Paperback review: Banksy, The Man Behind the Wall, By Will Ellsworth-Jones

Let us spray: painting a portrait of graffiti's man of mystery

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The Independent Culture

I've long been sceptical of Banksy, what with his PR-driven cult of anonymity and faux-naÏf public statements.

But I was impressed with this measured account of his career, which avoids the question of his real identity and focuses on discussing his work, from the early stencils in Bristol to sold-out shows in Los Angeles. Less interesting than Banksy's position in the art world is his relationship with the street community he left behind. Ellsworth-Jones's account of Banksy's 2009 dispute with the underground graffiti artist King Robbo – during which each man defaced the other's work – is fascinating, even if media reports comparing the pair to Picasso and Matisse were, as the author concedes, overdoing it a bit.