'This is Banksy’s first experiment with a new technique for making prints - spray the stencil onto processing film and expose the result directly onto a silk screen. This avoids photography or computer manipulation and creates a super accurate analogue representation of gestural mark making. In other words - looks pretty dope.' - Gross Domestic Product.
Banksy’s Thrower print represents an evolution of one of his most famous pieces of street art entitled Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower). The work shows a man with a bandana over his face frozen in the act of throwing not a brick or a molotov cocktail, but a bunch of flowers at an unseen target, and could be read as conveying a message of pacifism, perhaps referencing a photograph by Bernie Boston entitled Flower Power in which a Vietnam War protester is shown inserting a flower into the barrel of a soldier’s gun.
The present version splits the design into three parts. The original description for the work explains that the piece represents ‘Banksy’s first experiment with a new technique for making prints – spray the stencil onto processing film and expose the result directly onto a silk screen.’ In this way Banksy is returning to more manual techniques of printing, avoiding digital methods of manipulation in order to perfectly recreate the striking marks of the original design. In doing so Banksy appears to be referring back to the origins of screen printing as a medium in fine art, recalling a pre-digital age when artists such as Andy Warhol and Keith Haring transferred their images directly onto a screen to be reproduced over and over, heralding a new era for the dissemination and commodification of art.
With its classical stencilled style the work also harks back to Banksy’s origins as a street artist, the stencil representing the quickest way for the artist to insert his image into the urban environment whilst surrounded by CCTV and the eyes of the police. Referenced and reproduced multiple times, the flower thrower has become part of the canon of street art, becoming as instantly recognisable as Banksy’s rats or monkeys.
With this work Banksy has made the work more accessible to his audience, in keeping with the ethos behind the Gross Domestic Product shop which launched in October 2019. The so called ‘homewares brand’ began life as a showroom in Croydon, South London, where it attracted thousands of fans who were delighted to see a whole shop full of Banksy artworks.
It soon became clear however, that the shop could not be entered and that this was merely a publicity stunt to launch his latest online venture. The public were also told that the decision to sell a range of Banksy products came about as a result of the threat of a greeting card company to copyright the artist’s name. In response Banksy trademarked his brand and retained some control over his designs and attempted even to control who they were sold to by employing a kind of lottery system rather than adopting the traditional first come first served model.
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