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The Story behind Banksy’s Happy Choppers
Juxtaposing and creating visual contrasts between violence and innocence is a common theme in the work of Banksy, with children and childlike imagery often featuring heavily in the works which are promoted as his anti-war pieces. This piece takes on that message with its striking pink bow which both creates a threatening reminder of childhood innocence and seemingly turns the choppers into something more akin to children’s toys – using colour and juxtaposing artistic styles as a core part of the piece’s underlying meaning.
The way that Banksy has chosen to keep the helicopters themselves in darkness and monochromatic colours shows how threatening and sinister they are – with the use of shading to really capture and spotlight the guns and other weapons adding an even greater threat to the incoming choppers. Adding the bow contrasts the masculinity of the choppers and creates a constant reminder of the underlying menace which threatens the innocence of the people affected by war.
This piece is often linked with some of Banksy’s other anti-war works of art and has even been used as part of a protest in and around London which spoke out against military action in the Middle East.
History of this Piece
This unsigned print was first seen in 2002 as a sprayed mural in London, capturing Banksy’s own version of an anti-war movement and symbolising the rise against the violence of war. It was released and widely recognised by Banksy buyers and art fans during the time when helicopters were a common sighting over the ground of Afghanistan – directly referencing the very real and very threatening military presence around the world.
In releasing this piece as an unsigned original print, it is interesting to see how many different versions and variations there are – particularly when it comes to the background of the works. The original print has been deliberately finished with an unthreatening bright blue sky – creating even greater contrasts within the piece – while subsequent versions use a variety of different backgrounds and more detailed settings, created and finished in a range of mediums and artistic styles.
Sell your Banksy Happy Choppers
Happy Choppers has long been one of Banksy’s most famous anti-war pieces, with the imagery reproduced in many formats since the original unsigned prints were released. If you have a Banksy Happy Chopper original print that you want to sell, getting a formal valuation will ensure that you are able to fetch a fair and accurate price for your artwork.