A-Z of Banksy: R and S

In 2010, Banksy was named in the list of one hundred most influential people in the world by Time magazine. His darkly comic political and social commentary continues to dominate the street art scene, from his infamous radar rat commenting on the surveillance of Londoners (and indeed the world) through to his more recent murals highlighting the Syrian refugee crisis his works are revered, critiqued, adored and discussed the world over.

Radar Rat

This largely monochromatic print is typical of Banksy’s iconic spray-stencil style; depicting a rat standing on its hind legs, wearing headphones and holding radar equipment; with a graffitied coral-red spiral in the background.

The rat in this artwork is one of Banksy’s favourite motifs. This particular rat appeared as a mural on a few walls in London (one of the most surveilled capitals in the world, which is what the image is playing on), including one on the Kings Road.

Radar Rat was released in 2004, and is one Banksy’s most desirable prints because it came in an extremely low edition of 75 – they are therefore very rare. Every one was also hand finished and all 75 were all signed. All of these factors combine to make this an ideal Banksy print to buy and potentially a very shrewd investment.

Radar Rat Banksy

Rude Copper

Rude Copper is a black and white screen print by British Street and Graffiti Artist, Banksy.

This original screenprint features a policeman, complete with helmet, looking at the viewer and sticking his middle finger up. The print dates back to 2002, and is believed by many to be the first of Banksy’s commercial prints.

This piece of wall art contains Banksy’s typical, paradoxical approach to authority – with a respectable figure, using the anarchic symbol of the middle-finger: a symbol of authority, displaying a symbol of anti-authority. It just depends on who you believe he is swearing at.

Rude Copper is of an edition of 250 unsigned prints. In the same year, Banksy also produced some hand-finished and signed prints, which numbered 30. This artwork’s first incarnation was on a wall in London and featured two police officers, while the prints only feature a single police officer.

Sale Ends Banksy

Sale Ends

Dating from 2007 this original Banksy print has never been ‘officially’ released. One of six unsigned screenprints released in editions of 100 at the Barely Legal exhibition in LA. The remaining 400 prints were due to be released at a later date, but to this date this has not happened.

This artwork is monochromatic — save for a large ‘SALE ENDS TODAY’ sign in red — and in Banksy’s iconic stencil-style. Either side of the sign are four veiled, mourning widows (very similar to the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene mourning the loss of Christ) either with their heads bowed or hands raised to the heavens and praying for it not to be true. The painting is one of Banksy’s more tongue-in-cheek artworks; and is playing on the idea that shopping has now been elevated to an almost sacred level in modern society; and the ending of a sale and its bargains is mourned like the loss of Christ by many (ironically: especially around Christmas).

Soup Cans

Banksy’s original four-colour screenprint, Soup Cans, is a play on Andy Warhol‘s now-infamous Pop Art Campbell’s Soup Cans. What Banksy has done, is taken the idea that commercial products can be art, as is the Pop Art ethos, but has rendered it in his tongue-in-cheek style with Tesco Value cans of cream of tomato soup (slightly less romantic than the nostalgia we now associate with Campbell’s).

This limited edition screenprint is one of Banksy’s most iconic, and came in four different variations (the number of cans featured on the print and their colours vary).

Originally released in 2005 was the original was a single Soup Can. A total edition of 300 of these were released, 50 were signed and 250 were unsigned. Next came the coloured variations of the Soup Can — still depicting a single can, these came in a total of 28 different colours, with 10 of each (making 280 prints in total), all of which were signed. Lastly, in 2006 came the Lazarides edition which featured four soup cans with gold tops. These came in two different varieties, grey paper or cream paper. There were 54 of the cream version, and 12 of the grey, and all of them were signed. Additionally, Soup Cans Quad was Banksy’s 2006 edition of this image and features four cans of Tesco Value Cream of Tomato Soup.

Soup Cans Banksy Quad

Stop and Search

Banksy is believed to have created Stop and Search sometime around 2007. Although there appear to be some reincarnations of the work on canvas as well, the dominant form that this work takes is that of the 500 signed and numbered prints released by Banksy in 200. Stop and Search presents in monochrome to the viewer, a two dimensional narrative or storyline with a fairly recognizable Dorothy (the central character of the Wizard of Oz), her small Maltese poodle, Otto, and a police officer with blue latex gloves, which are the only coloured element in Stop and Search. In this emotive piece, we watch the police officer searching Dorothy’s basket.

It has been suggested this painting relates to the plot of the Wizard of Oz too and gives us the suggestion that Dorothy and Otto are being prevented from getting home. The innocence associated with the protagonist in the film is also imbued on the subjects being stopped and searched. Dorothy is unanimously seen as a character representing innocence and freedom is free from the menacing influence of the state.