Banksy Sid Vicious Original Canvas

Sid Vicious Banksy

Sid Vicious, painted circa 2000, is one of Banksy’s earliest canvases. The vibrant colour palette and format sets the work apart from much of the artist’s early output. A second edition was made the same year and includes a white target symbol spray painted in the middle of the canvas appearing to aim for the rock musician.

Typical in its anti-establishment commentary, Sid Vicious pays tribute to bass guitarist and vocalist of the Sex Pistols. The sequence of nine portraits replicated in a grid formation is intentionally evocative of the work of Andy Warhol, whose repeated portraits of world-famous icons such as Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn Diptych and Shot Marilyns, and Elvis Presley in Elvis 21 Times and Eight Elvises initiated the Pop Art movement.

Sid Vicious, the controversial and rebellious bass guitarist and vocalist of the infamous punk rock band the Sex Pistols embodied the punk subculture of the 1970s and 80s, his image symbolised a movement opposed to convention, especially that of mass-produced popular music and consumerism. The Punk movement itself was characterised by its anti-establishment views and a wish for individual freedom. Whilst Warhol’s Marilyn works present a critique on mass production and consumerism associated with pop culture, Banksy challenges the concept further, using a well-known visual motif of Punk culture to question the cultural perspective of Pop Art whilst venerating the Punk musician and the Punk ideology.

Sid Vicious isn’t the only work of where Banksy has imitated Warhol. His 2005 version of Soup Cans depicts a grid of Tesco tomato soup cans, a nod to Warhol’s Campbell Soup series. The work is another comment on consumerism using the cultural motifs of Warhol’s Pop Art iconography. As in in Sid Vicious, Banksy employs an iconic public symbol to demonstrate his point – in the case of Soup Cans, it is Tesco representing mass production, consumerism and capitalism, just as Sid Vicious represents rebellion and subculture.

Other references to Warhol’s influence can be seen in Banksy’s 2005 portrait of Kate Moss, where the artist reinvents Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe with the face of Kate Moss, so as to present Moss as a British legendary icon.