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More About Banksy’s ‘Flying Copper (Undesigned)’
The mixed-media visual approach to ‘Flying Copper’ makes this one of Banksy’s most eye-opening prints in circulation – blurring the lines between militant force and unsung hero and forcing us to reconsider the way that we view coppers and individuals in authority. We often see Banksy concealing the faces and features of his figures, particularly those who are there to represent a wider group – as is the case with this single military cop. The smiley face is a motif used by Banksy to create an ironically innocent viewpoint, while the wings touch on that concept of the copper as an unsung hero or angel in disguise.
This entire piece is about juxtaposition and symbolism – juxtaposing the large assault rifle with the childlike smiley face to make the viewer question the intentions of the figure.
The Story Behind Banksy’s ‘Flying Copper (Undesigned)’
The intention of this piece, which was originally showcased as a cut out on the side of a building in East London where Banksy was hosting an exhibition, is to encourage society to question the roles of those in authority. By creating a blurring of lines between hero and violent militant, the striking image puts a mask over the face of the cop figure – implying that coppers wear a mask and that their true intention is and always will be hidden.
Another way of viewing this piece takes the concept of juxtaposition to a higher position, and really questions the way that we as viewers look at our preferred perception and fiction vs reality and what is actually in front of us. We like to believe that cops are there to protect us, but is this simply an ideal perception rather than reality?
The History of this Piece
There are a number of iterations and versions of ‘Flying Copper’ out there, with Banksy commonly using this simple but striking motif as a way of showcasing his views on authority and those in an authority position. ‘Flying Copper’ is a great example of how Banksy uses mixed media and different visual styles to create one image and to share one key message, with the simplicity of the smiley face juxtaposing the complexity of the stencilled figure to produce a blurring of the lines between perception and reality, and between innocence and violence.
First appearing on the side of his exhibition warehouse in 2003, this original unsigned print has been reproduced as a commercial screen print – released as part of a batch of 600.
Sell your Banksy ‘Flying Copper (Undesigned)’
With ‘Flying Copper’ sharing such a bold and clearcut message, it is a coveted original among Banksy buyers from all over the world. While the piece itself and its artistic subject have been recreated and reproduced in different outlets and artistic formats, for those looking to sell a Banksy ‘Flying Copper’ original print, getting the right valuation will ensure you see it to a Banksy buyer for a fair price.