Banksy Trend Report Q2


Find out more about Banksy's Love Hurts series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

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Critical Review

Love Hurts, or Barbed Wire Heart Balloon is one of just 16 prints released by Banksy in 2012 in a collection never made for the general public. This edition was released for an exclusive selection of the artist's friends and was never made available to the public. Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, is rumoured to own an original Love Hurts canvas.

Over the course of his career Banksy has reworked the visual motif of the Love Hurts balloon in several different works. In 2017, the image was installed as a painting in the artist’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine, a hotel with a permanent exhibition of Banksy’s works that overlooks the wall separating it from Israel. A similar balloon was also painted on the streets of Brooklyn during his New York residency in 2013, titled Better Out Than In before it was defaced by rival graffiti artist Omar NYC.

The Love Hurts Banksy print is deceptively simple in its composition, featuring a red heart-shaped Mylar balloon against a light blue monochromatic background. Appearing to have escaped its owner, the wounded balloon, indicated by the pair of plasters on the top right, is now trapped within a barbed wire fence.

Banksy himself has explained that Love Hurts ‘is obviously an iconic representation of the battle to survive a broken heart. It’s an uplifting visual poem to that most fragile of human emotions that seem to move within us as if on a soft breeze’. 

Love, or the lack of it, is a theme that has preoccupied Banksy throughout his career in works such as Love is in the Air (later adapted as a screen print) which depicts a young man throwing a bunch of flowers like a grenade, meant to signify the act of spreading love. The iconic work Love Rat was also intended to publicly deliver a message of love in the city.