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Grin Reaper


Grin Reaper is a limited edition screen print by Banksy that was originally released in 2005 as an edition of just 300 signed prints.

A play on words, which epitomises the image itself alongside the sinister connotation of the grim reaper figure, this piece by Banksy is a direct example of the forces of good vs. evil – presenting the famously dark figure of the grim reaper with a jolly face which completely contradicts the figure’s persona.

Sat atop a clock, which reads 5 minutes to midnight, the connotation behind the image is that the Grin Reaper is waiting until midnight to carry out his actions – but by changing his face, Banksy causes us to question what those actions actually are.


Medium: Screen Print
Format: Unsigned Print
Year: 2006
Size: H 80cm x W 122cm
Framing details: Framed with glass
Edition size: 500
Signed: No
Condition: Excellent
Provenance: Pest Control COA


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The Story behind Banksy’s Grin Reaper

For those who know a lot about Banksy’s work, you will know that often the figures in his pieces of art are designed to represent different groups, emotions, or actions. In this piece, the Grin Reaper is a hybrid of good and evil, however, the fact that he is waiting for midnight before taking action could also liken the figure to us as a societal group – always waiting for something to happen before we take action to protect ourselves.

In this instance, the Grin Reaper becomes both the figure to be fearful of and the very depiction of a society that is afraid of him – implying that perhaps it is our own inaction and inability to protect ourselves before the clock strikes twelve, that scares us the most.

Either way, the bright yellow smiley face breaks up the haunting image and causes us to question the motivation behind the work – does the smiley face represent something more normal in modern culture, or is it a mask behind which something more sinister is at play?

This is a piece of art that raises questions – making it a great investment for a Banksy buyer with an interest in the artist’s more elusive and visually stimulating works.

The History of this Piece

This was in fact one of Banksy’s earliest street art pieces which appeared on a wall in London in the early 2000s. Despite being covered up a few years later as part of the anti-graffiti drive across the city, the piece has become an icon in the street art world and for Banksy buyers and symbolises the ticking time bomb which is modern life in an increasingly volatile world.

Since its original release, this has become part of a wide collection of unsigned original prints which are circulated on the auction market for Banksy buyers and other interested parties. By capturing the Grin Reaper and infusing the typically haunting and dark figure with a vibrant yellow face, Banksy once again uses colour minimally but to great effect – putting a clear and unarguable spotlight on his main message.

Sell your Banksy Grin Reaper

When you receive a formal valuation of your unsigned original print, you ensure that your art investment is sold to an authentic Banksy buyer who recognises the value of your piece. For more information on how a valuation can help you to get the best price and receive the best seller experience, get in touch with our team.

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