Art Attack's Neil Buchanan rebuts wild conspiracy theory suggesting he's Banksy

Art Attack's Neil Buchanan rebuts wild conspiracy theory suggesting he's Banksy

Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan rebuts wild conspiracy theory suggesting he’s Banksy

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Former Art Attack presenter Neil Buchanan has rebutted rumours swirling on social media that he is the elusive street artist Banksy.

The wild conspiracy theory spread freely on Twitter last week after one user suggested it was “rumoured” that Mr Buchanan, 58, was behind artworks such as Balloon Girl and Love is in the Bin.

Banky’s identity has remained unknown to the public despite his history of high-profile works.

“Just heard that it’s rumoured Neil Buchanan is Banksy,” one of the conspiracy theorists wrote.

“If true, it’s the funniest s*** ever. Aintree’s finest… This is straight in the believe without question category.”

They further explained that the theory had credibility given the fact that Mr Buchanan, like Banksy, is a musician and “art has followed in cities of shows he’s done allegedly”.

The suggestion was then quickly picked up on by other Twitter users, many of whom welcomed the idea.

One wrote: “Neil Buchanan WAS known for his big outdoor pieces utilising multimedia props and items to craft uncanny replicas.”

Another added: “Absolutely here to believe Neil Buchanan is Banksy.”

But the flurry of social media activity prompted a swift rebuttal from Mr Buchanan himself, with a statement published on his website on Monday dismissing the rumours he was the Bristolian artist.

“We can confirm that there is no truth in the rumour whatsoever,” the statement said.

​”Neil spent lockdown with vulnerable members of his family and is now preparing to launch his new art collection in 2021.”

The rebuttal did little to quell the speculation from some quarters, however, with some users suggesting the rumour was so good, it had to be true, and others stating Mr Buchanan’s comments only served as further evidence he is in fact Banksy.

“I need Neil Buchanan from Art Attack to be Banksy. I need it,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another said: “Neil Buchanan saying he isn’t Banksy is exactly what someone who is Banksy would say.”

Banksy’s latest stunt saw him graffiti the inside of a London Underground train carriage with messages about the spread of coronavirus.

He has also attracted headlines in recent weeks for funding a refugee rescue boat that is already helping to save people encountering danger in the Mediterranean Sea as they attempt perilous crossings.

The Louise Michel, a former French navy vessel, launched under its new guise last month and features a painting from Banksy depicting a young girl holding on to a heart-shaped safety float.

The boat was renamed after a 19th-century French anarchist, and is spattered in pink paint after the secretive artist “decorated her with a fire extinguisher”.

It was bought with the proceeds of some of Banksy’s works and is captained by a professional crew with a “flat hierarchy and a vegan diet”.

The vessel’s mission statement is “to uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice”.

“We on board the Louise Michel believe we are all individuals, nationality should not make a difference to what rights one has and how we treat each other,” it says on its website.

“We answer the SOS call of all those in distress, not just to save their souls – but our own.”