Scotland’s ‘Banksy’ unmasked in BBC show about mystery Stonehaven sculptures

The man behind a series of mysterious scrap metal sculptures that have been popping up around Stonehaven for over a decade has finally been unmasked by a BBC TV series.

His latest creation. Picture: BBC
His latest creation. Picture: BBC

The Stonehaven mystery sculptor – dubbed the ‘Stoney Banksy’ – has come forward to confirm his identity and give an exclusive interview to BBC Scotland’s Loop.

The interview with Jim Malcolm, 68, is now live on BBC Scotland social media outlets and will be screened on the TV series Loop on Thursday, 9 May on BBC Scotland.

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His sculptural creations have been appearing around the town for about 15 years, but his work finally hit the headlines earlier this year with items on Reporting Scotland and The One Show after his latest piece – a creel fishing boat - ‘mysteriously’ appeared towards the end of 2018.

Jim Malcolm beside one of his scultures. Picture: BBC

His creations – largely inspired by the sea around his coastal hometown – have left the rest of the country perplexed as to who could be creating them, though friends in the area knew it was Jim and often left scrap metal at his door to provide material for his creations.

He has now decided to come forward and tell his story through BBC Scotland’s arts strand Loop.

Speaking about the mystery, Mr Maclolm said: “People have been trying to find who I am for a while now… Personally I get a bit embarrassed about it.

“What does it matter who did or didn’t do it. This will be my first and last interview.”

The Loop strand started three years ago showcasing arts and emerging artists from across Scotland on BBC Scotland’s digital outlets, but this year it also moved to TV on the new BBC Scotland channel with a weekly programme.

The TV series brings together stories about Scottish cultural figures and different arts practices along with short films from new talent.

As well as being showcased on Loop social media, Jim Malcolm’s interview will be shown on episode four of the series, which is on the theme ‘From Your Own Hands’ and also features visual artist Rachel MacLean. She talks about her work, her creative process and how she handcrafts every colourful element of her pieces. Other cultural figures who have featured in the series include Edwyn Collins, Frank Quitely and screenwriter and director Raisah Ahmed.

As he reveals in the interview, Mr Maclolm has been inspired by the sea from a young age, going out on boats from the age of eight and working much of his adult life at sea before latterly becoming a welder. He explained that he though retired three years ago, the sea still means a lot to him, he said: “The sea to me means freedom.”

He was spurred on to take up making his artworks, when he created a steel salmon – which he posted on the shoreline – to wind up a friend who had been found guilty of poaching. Although he is inspired by the sea, he doesn’t always know how his creations – which have included fish, boats, a seal and a lighthouse all erected near the seafront - will turn out.

He said: “It just evolves when I’m doing it. I never know what I’m doing til I’m finished.”

However despite the acclaim for his work, the pensioner remains modest: “I’m nae an artist, nah, I’m just a guy that sticks metal together…

“I make sculptures for the simple fact I enjoy doing it.”

• The interview will be shown on The Loop, BBC Scotland at 11pm on Thursday, 9 May

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