Who is Banksy? It's one of this generation's biggest questions, and a recent online conspiracy theory thought it had finally found the answer in the one and only Neil Buchanan, who is best known for presenting TV show Art Attack. Yup, people were pretty convinced that the mysterious, spray can-wielding artist could be the King of Big Art himself. And we were 100 per cent onboard with the idea.
Unfortunately for us, Buchanan has issued a statement that vehemently denies the suggestion. This may be our biggest art-based disappointment of the year so far.
Banksy has been responsible for some of the most well-known graffiti of all time (see other amazing examples of street art, right here). So it would make sense that someone with Buchanan's skill set would be behind the designs – if he can create that kind of (very '90s) magic with toilet rolls and towels, imagine what he could do with a spray can and an empty wall. And is it just us, or is that big art of a kite flyer (below) reminiscent of Banksy's Girl With Balloon?
People were widely into the idea on Twitter, with one user reminding us Buchanan is used to living a double life – playing a character on TV show Zzzap.
For everyone doubting the theory that Banksy is Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan, may I remind you Neil was already leading a double life in the 90s as Smarty Arty on Zzzap! pic.twitter.com/JwiISMhpB9September 7, 2020
But Buchanan's website contains the following statement, which is pretty direct regarding the matter. It reads: "Neil Buchanan is not Banksy... We can confirm that there is no truth in the rumour whatsoever. Neil spent Lockdown with vulnerable members of his family and is now preparing to launch his new art collection in 2021."
Most responses however, are not convinced by the rebuttal.
"I'm not Banksy" is literally what Banksy would say. Fooling no one, Neil Buchanan.September 7, 2020
Though some are still highlighting the differences between the two artists...
Neil Buchanan could paint "There Is Always Hope" but Banksy could not teach us how to use ping pong balls and cardboard tubes to see if anyone had been in our room. #ArtAttackSeptember 7, 2020
Since googling Buchanan results in a suggested question of "what happened to the art attack guy", it's fair to say he has managed to keep a suitably low enough profile in recent years for it to be a realistic proposition. Although his denial couldn't be clearer, we can't help but believe that's what he would say if he was Banksy.
It would be a leap in terms of subject matter – we can't imagine Banksy's idea for a new Black Lives Matter statue getting the Art Attack treatment but, even so, we'll probably just cling to the idea until a better option comes along.