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I Fought The Law


As is so often the case in the work of street artist Banksy, this piece of art delivers a surface-level exploration and representation of a much deeper issue – in this case, the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, and the state of unrest in society as a whole.

Chaotic at first glance due to the use of very monotone black and white colouring to depict the scene, it is the orange paint which immediately stands out – immediately showing how the apprehended assassinator from the original snapshot has been replaced by a graffiti artist.


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 ‘I Fought The Law’

Based directly on a snapshot from video footage of the suspect in Reagan’s assassination attempt being held on the floor, Banksy’s I Fought the Law print is a stylised version which replaces the would-be killer with a graffiti artist. In doing this, Banksy creates several meanings and delivers several different interpretations for viewers and Banksy fans – the first and most obvious being that those who break the law in any way will inevitably be knocked down. Though in this piece we see that the artist has succeeded in getting his message on the wall in bright orange paint, the overriding concept shows that the message falls redundant to the actions of the authorities.

Besides giving the work a more artistic spin, this print also serves as a way of Banksy hinting at the idea of street and graffiti artists being almost as heavily distrusted as genuine criminals – implying his views on the mollycoddling of violence in the modern world by likening it to far lesser crimes.

Finally, by getting his message on the wall before being apprehended, Banksy shows that these criminals can and do get away with their actions, even if they are eventually stopped.

The History of this Piece

Banksy’s I Fought the Law was released in 2004 and was based on the real-life actions of John Hinckley who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The figures in the piece are based on the figures who stepped in to stop the attempted assassination, though for the purposes of his artwork Banksy has replaced the would-be killer with a graffiti artist.

Thought to be Banksy’s way of condemning the authorities for treating graffiti artists in the same way as they treat violent criminals, this piece combines the visuals from the infamous scene, with lyrics from a song by The Clash.

This particular piece is an unsigned original print and is one of 500 editions out there on the market and in the hands of Banksy buyers and owners.

Sell your Banksy ‘I Fought The Law’

When it comes to selling your Banksy I Fought the Law original print, a formal valuation will ensure that you list and sell your piece for a fair and appropriate amount. For more information on how to get a reputable valuation service, get in touch with our team of Banksy experts.

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