Pulp Fiction Banksy
Banksy’s Pulp Fiction art depicts a famous scene from the iconic Quentin Tarantino film in which two protagonists from Pulp Fiction are clutching bananas instead of guns and was released an edition of 150 official Pulp Fiction signed and 600 unsigned Pulp Fiction prints.
This work first appeared in 2002 as a stencilled composition in the streets of London, near Old Street tube station. It had been visible until 2007, when the Transport for London decided to paint over the wall which was estimated £300,000, judging it created an atmosphere of social decay and neglect in the capital. Pulp Fiction by Banksy had become quickly famous and used to draw art fans and tourists to the area. When the mural was covered, a local artist sprayed-painted the words « Come Back » addressed to Banksy. Then Banksy re-tagged his original Pulp Fiction street piece at the exact same place but this time the characters were holding pistols and were wearing banana costumes.
Young graffiti artist Ozone wrote over Banksy’s new piece the words « If it’s better next time I’ll leave it ». Sadly the 19-year-old artist passed away a few days afterwards along with fellow artist Wants, being both hit by an underground train in Barking, East London, in January 2007. Banksy made a tribute artwork over his banana Pulp Fiction mural, depicting an angel wearing a bulletproof vest and holding a skull in his right hand. He also posted a note on his website saying : « When we lost Ozone we lost a fearless graffiti writer and as it turns out a pretty perceptive art critic. Ozone – rest in peace ». The tribute mural was quickly referred to as the « Ozone’s Angel » mural. The first version of Banksy’s Pulp Fiction mural became immediately popular, enough to be reproduced on posters, canvas, mugs, t-shirts and bags. Official series of screenprints were edited in 2004.
The Pulp Fiction print by Banksy depicts the characters played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in the 1994 film by Quentin Tarantino. Created on a black background with white stencilled shapes, Banksy's Pulp Fiction art presents the protagonists Vincent and Jules as ready to fire their arms. But their pistols have been replaced by bright yellow bananas which are the only touch of colour of the composition. There are several pop culture references in Banksy's artwork starting from Tarantino's cult film. The bananas used as guns can be reminiscent of Andy Warhol's iconic 1967 album cover for The Velvet Underground rock band displaying a banana on a monochrome background, or Monty Python's 1969 sketch « Self Defence Against Fresh Fruit » which appeared in the episode « Owl Stretching Time ».
The sketch is about an instructor who is teaching a class how to defend oneself against an assailant armed with a piece of fruit. The Monty Python troupe parodies acts of pseudo-violence committed with fruit like bananas. Pulp Fiction has a satirical meaning as Banksy uses one more time humour as an artistic tool. Whilst paying homage to the film, the artist provides an anti-war message as the violence of the scene is rendered ridiculous with bananas used as a weapon. Pulp Fiction's meaning can also be understood as a comment on America's foreign policy which Banksy often overtly criticises through his art as in the works Have A Nice Day, Applause, Bomb Hugger or Flags.