Banksy Trend Report Q1
Flying Copper

Flying Copper
Signed Print


Screenprint, 2003
Signed Print Edition of 150
H 100cm x W 50cm

Critical Review

Flying Copper is one of Banksy’s earliest and most iconic images known around the world. The print shows an armed British policeman in complete riot gear: machine gun, walkie-talkie, cuffs, helmet – with an insertion of a disarming ‘smiley face’ (synonymous with Britain’s ‘90s rave culture) and a pair of sprayed angel wings. The background is a block of bright, sky blue.

This print is a quintessential example of Banksy’s style featuring contrasting aesthetics - photo-realistic stencils combined with graphic features demonstrates the vast disparity between what we associate with the ‘smiley face’ (happiness), and what we associate with riot gear (fear and intimidation). The little angel wings on the policeman’s back accentuate an amusing juxtaposition between morality, truth, military control and intimidation. It is usual for Banksy to remind us to be sceptical and wary of authority figures abusing power and the police have been a frequent target of his critiques, such as in other works like Donuts, Chocolate and most famously Rude Copper.

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