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Meaning Good

Banksy's Bad Meaning Good is a series of album covers for four mixtapes, released between 2002 and 2003, curated by Skitz. Appropriating symbols of state control Banksy turns them on their heads, undermining their aura of authority.

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Meaning & Analysis

Between 2002 and 2003, Banksy created four different album covers for the Bad Meaning Good music compilations. These were selections of tracks chosen by different artists and recorded on CD or vinyl. The tracks range from electronic and hip hop to jazz, rock, funk and reggae.

For the cover of Bad Meaning Good Volume 1 from 2002 – with tracks selected by Skitz – Banksy painted a large red ‘X’ in the background and stencilled a monochromatic machine gun on top of it. The cover of Bad Meaning Good Volume 2, also from 2002, with tracks chosen by Roots Manuva, shows a grey ‘X’ and a black and white stencilled military vehicle.

The cover of Bad Meaning Good Volume 3 from 2003, selected by Peanut Butter Wolf, displays a blue ‘X’ with a stencilled police car, while Bad Meaning Good Volume 4, also released in 2003, with a selection of tracks by Scratch Perverts, shows a red ‘X’ and a CCTV camera and three crows seemingly tampering with it.

All four covers bear symbols of control or authority, that Banksy subtly twisted to poke fun at the state. The machine gun presented in Bad Meaning Good Volume 1 is painted with a huge pair of shoes, reminiscent of clown shoes as if this weapon was a joke or a fake.

The military vehicle in Bad Meaning Good Volume 2 is ridiculed and compared to a toy with its bunny ears and bow. The police car depicted in Bad Meaning Good Volume 3 is defunct, its tyres removed, whilst Bad Meaning Good Volume 4 presents a street camera damaged by crows. Banksy ridicules these familiar images until they are reduced to harmless jokes, turning them from bad to good.

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