Rude Copper is one of Banksy’s most iconic, earliest images, released in 2002 as an unsigned screen print edition of 250.
Rude Copper is a screen print on wove paper produced by British street artist Banksy in 2002. The print comes in an edition size of 100 and shows a British policeman in uniform holding up his middle finger. The policeman is captured from the waist up and appears to be swearing at the viewer of the print. The policeman is rendered using a stencil and black and white spray paint, a characteristic feature of Banksy’s artistic style.
Banksy started producing freehand graffiti in Bristol, where he grew up, however the artist adopted the stencil method in the 1990s as it was quicker and simpler and meant he could reduce the risks of being caught by the police. Rude Copper is steeped in irony and captures how Banksy uses humour in his artworks to critique the establishment, capitalism and modern warfare. Many of Banksy’s artworks, such as his graffiti murals in public spaces, are illegal and have to be produced anonymously to avoid the artist being penalised. In this print, Banksy pokes fun at the police who have been unable to catch him and punish him for his illegal artworks.
Banksy often depicts police officers in his artworks. A notable example is the performance piece from 2001 in which the artist hired an actor dressed in a police uniform to spray ‘crime pays’ on a wall in Hackney while being photographed by the artist.
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