Banksy's 2000 Avon And Somerset Constabulary prints mock his tense relationship with police. It has two variations –ten with a pink background and two special editions in blue hues. The artwork is likely a reference to the police's fruitless pursuit of graffiti artists like Banksy.
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Created in 2000-1, Avon And Somerset Constabulary is one of Banksy’s earliest editions. The spray-painted stencil on canvas depicts two English police officers staring through binoculars in different directions. They are on the alert for trouble, but look aimless and incompetent.
The artwork exists in two variations. Avon And Somerset Constabulary (pink) features a pink background and was created as an edition of 10. Meanwhile, Avon And Somerset Constabulary (blue) was created as an edition of 2 in two different colourways, featuring a light blue or dark blue background.
Avon And Somerset Constabulary references Banksy’s youth and hometown of Bristol, which is served by the Avon and Somerset police force. The police had a direct impact on Banksy’s use of the stencil: when the anonymous street artist was 18 years old, he hid from the British transport police under a dumper truck. “As I lay there listening to the cops on the tracks,” he recalled in his book Wall And Piece, “I was staring straight up at the stencilled plate on the bottom of a fuel tank”. He had an epiphany that he could use the same method in his graffiti work.
In 2008, eight years after Banksy created Avon And Somerset Constabulary, Bristol became the first city in the UK to launch an anti-graffiti police team.