The GAMBLE | 3 Portraits of Banksy Oil, scratch-off paint on Canvas. .... Banksy Painting
Banksy's Identity | Face | Who is Banksy? | Banksy revealed | The Gamble | Banksy Painting | oil on canvas | ISONERV | Artist
Banksy Painting | The Gamble | Banksy Portrait | oil on canvas | ISONERV | Artist
ISONERV | Banksy Painting | The Gamble | Banksy identity | oil on canvas |  Artist

The GAMBLE....a Banksy identity game

Oil and scratch-off paint on canvas x 3

each 105cm x 140cm

Paintings based on a photo I took of Banksy in 2003 megastar back then.

"I want to take your picture"

"Ok give me a minute"

--comes back with a gun.

Rub away the eyes and mouth. Are you a winner?


In 2003 I rented a studio to Banksy and his gang in Hoxton, London, and so I took a photo of him. He also used the yard where he made The Drinker.

When he moved out I failed to spot £1,000,000 on the floor... an original prototype 'Girl with Balloon' stencil on wood. (image bottom left)

All his crap got dumped in a skip. Haha...except for a 6 pack of Red Stripe beer.

Banksy Identity | The Gamble | Banksy identity Game | ISONERV | Artist


3 painted portraits of Banksy are for 'sale' with the eyes and mouth obscured with scratch-off paint. Only one will reveal the face, there is only one winner... the other two, well this...
The Gamble. ISONERV. Banksy. Loser!

"All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be"

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

I have no need or desire to reveal Banksy's identity, that has already been done much more hysterically by the media (believe it or not). The Gamble is an artistic inquiry into the madness of the celebrity / media / spectator / consumer relationship.

This 'sale' is a hypothetical gesture, a reflection, not just on the absurd lengths some would go to reveal Banksy's identity, or the outlandish claims made about who / what he is, but at a deeper level, why people get so obsessed by a remote human being / brand; the drooling public, craving to 'know' a 'super-person', enthusiastically, ceaselessly fed by the grotesque daily information industry.

Even if I published the actual photo (I never will) these paintings are based on, I'm sure it would be met with denial and doubt. It seems there is a psychological need for the superfans to protect and preserve, almost religiously, their personal and collective interpretation of the Banksy brand, the political/art commodity, to maintain the value of their emotional investment in the star, the renegade, the outsider, the fugitive, eagerly awaiting the next manifestation... but the rebel-saviour has long been absorbed and revealed as part of the Spectacle.

"...dissatisfaction itself became a commodity" Guy Debord

The paintings are accurate representations, based on a photo, idealized and zit-free.

Banksy Studio | Hoxton | The Gamble | Banksy identity | Girl with Balloon | Michael Croft | Artist
Several attempts have been made to involve me in the "authentication" of an early original Girl with Balloon stencil found in Hoxton based on the information on this page. I have been asked to testify in order to support their stories in return for a handsome reward from the proceeds of the subsequent sale. Give it a a stencil off eBay, get a tin of black spray paint, a bit of ratty plywood...Dudes, you know I could have faked it myself yeah?
Sometimes I converse with them in an idle moment or two, just to see what happens.

A recent con attempt was a communication from someone purporting to be Banksy's accountant contacting me from Pest Control; Banksy would love to have a copy of the original photo for his personal archives. Yeah right... so why is the email not from the domain? I get a dubious answer, something about the need to be able to deny the existence of a request for the I play along a bit.. telling stories, some true, some half true, some not...about events back then in Hoxton. Anyway the conversation was getting a little tiresome. So I send my final email not really expecting a reply: "Because you are not corresponding from the official domain please ask Banksy these questions based on memories that only he and I could share, so that I'm absolutely convinced that you are who you say you are.".. then a bit of bait: "You don't have to bother with this request, I think I'm close to trusting you". I got a reply..and a RESULT! - Comedy gold! Grade U*. Zero. Zilch. Nada. . Banksy must have had a brain trauma, or a personality transplant. How might a stereotypical British street artist speak?..Ok...let's go!
Banksy Painting | The Gamble | Banksy unmasked | oil on canvas | ISONERV | Artist
Banksy Painting | The Gamble | Banksy unmasked | oil on canvas | ISONERV | Artist
Banksy portrait - The Gamble -  ISONERV  2015 >
The GAMBLE - before the mask Oil, scratch-off paint on Canvas. ISONERV