Banksy Choose Your Weapon Catalogue Image

Choose Your Weapon Banksy

Banksy’s Choose Your Weapon (also known as CYW) first appeared on a wall in The Grange, in South East London’s Camberwell in 2010. Shortly after the stencil appeared on the street, it was boarded over. It then reappeared, framed and covered in Perspex. In August 2016, it was reported that the Perspex itself had been covered in posters and flyers obscuring it from view entirely. It is unknown if the work still exists in the same location, or if it is just obscured from view.

Banksy’s original UK print house, Pictures On Walls released the prints in December 2010, to hordes of fans queuing in the cold to get their hands on the coveted limited editions. The queue notoriously got out of control, with pushing and shoving by desperate fans hoping not to lose out on the exclusive editions. Banksy’s response to the event was, along with Pictures On Walls, to produce a special queue jumping edition in grey for those who missed their chance.

The work depicts a hooded man with dark clothing and a bandanna hiding his face, a visual motif recurrent in Banksy’s stencil work and meant to signify a British disaffected youth. The man’s menacing appearance is contrasted by his casual hand-in-the-pocket posture and his big barking cartoon dog, who is chained and barking. The connotation in much of the media at the time, and in Banksy’s own interpretation is that the dog has become an alternative weapon on the streets of the UK. The minimalist animal, painted in a hieroglyphic all-white silhouette, is in contrast to the hyper-realistic representation of his master. The style of Banksy’s dog pays tribute to the famous Barking Dog by American pop artist Keith Haring who is one of Haring’s most important characters. Haring rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his graffiti drawings made in the subways and on the sidewalks of New York City.

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