No Wonder Banksy Keeps Such a Low Profile

Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Publicity Stunts, You Decide

Submitted by John Lundberg of

Once you’ve read this article, you might want to check out the movie site to see who is actually hoaxing whom…

When Joan Collins THOUGHT she’d met Banksy: The elaborate plot to impersonate graffiti artist and how the MoS foiled it
by James Tapper
03rd May 2009


To Joan Collins it must have seemed an unexpected honour too good to refuse – the chance to meet the world-famous, and notoriously secretive, graffiti artist Banksy.

Not surprisingly, she readily accepted the invitation to host a dinner party for the mysterious artist in a grand country home, with other excited celebrities in attendance to share the unique experience.

But The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the entire story was an elaborate hoax, designed to dupe the Dynasty actress – and the rest of the world.

In reality, the “˜Banksy”™ who Miss Collins spent five hours entertaining was actor Bryan Lawrence – whose career includes bit parts in The Bill and adverts for the Corby Trouser Press – not the controversial guerrilla artist famed for his stencilled, anarchist graffiti works that can sell for up to £250,000.

When we told Miss Collins of the scam, she admitted she had been completely taken in.

Asked if she knew that the person she believed to be Banksy was, in fact, an actor, she said: “˜I didn”™t. I thought it was [Banksy]. I certainly thought it was. Am I surprised? Well, I still think it might be him.”™

The bizarre plot was dreamt up by former Tory adviser Ivan Massow, a colourful character who made and lost a fortune selling insurance to gay men, and a familiar face on the London social scene, who has known Miss Collins for 20 years.

He filmed the charade in the hope of hoodwinking a TV broadcaster into buying the footage, promoting it as the first time Banksy had revealed himself on camera…

Massow”™s hoax was uncovered after he approached The Mail on Sunday with an article he had written claiming to have filmed the real Banksy.

In the piece, Massow wrote: “˜There it is: Joan – doyenne of dinner-party hostesses, staunch Tory, national institution – welcoming into her wonderful home Banksy – edgiest of agitprop artists, social critic, enigma. If that”™s not art, I don”™t know what is.”™

But on investigating his story, we unearthed the truth, forcing Massow to confess a “˜massive art fraud”™.

He said: “˜To pull off what was such a massive art fraud would have been really quite spectacular…

Read the full article here.