Banksy needs little introduction—the anonymous graffiti artist has been wowing the world with his cutting socio-political statements and iconic representations of struggle against authority for three decades now. He has become as much a pop culture pillar as those he would twist and examine within his work. But William Gannon may require some introduction—a Welsh politician who has recently resigned after a bizarre rumour that he was in fact Banksy took over his life.
William Gannon served as a councillor in the town of Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales up until this past week. But when the rumour that he was the true identity of the world-famous graffiti artist Banksy started coming to a head, he found himself unable to do the work necessary for his position. Gannon states the rumour began circulating at the start of this year, building up to a boiling point when he was finally elected councillor in May—a strange thorn in one’s side to make for such a quick tenure.
It may seem like an odd target for such a heated belief to circle around, but Gannon was not always a politician. Throughout a lot of his life, the future councillor was actively engaged in street art himself. While Gannon states that he was more so involved in sanctioned works and not the guerrilla-style graffiti of Banksy, it does give some understanding as to how this myth was able to propagate so intensely. Unfortunately, constituents seemed all the less convinced the more he denied it, and it has led to himself and his fellow councillors to having him resign in order to protect the town from controversy.
At the very least, William Gannon does not seem to hold animosity toward the artist. In a conversation with the BBC News, he stated of the potential for Banksy to do a work in Pembroke Dock: “Banksy is a very responsible artist and it would do a lot [of] good, imagine what it would do to our tourism.” Gannon now returns to his life as an artist and certainly has some good creative fodder for the time being. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the “I Am NOT Banksy” button he’s crafted is convincing anyone.