Banksy, ‘Happy Chopper’, 2003, Julien's Auctions
Banksy, ‘Happy Chopper’, 2003, Julien's Auctions

Accompanied by Pest Control certificate of authenticity.

Numbered in pencil lower right '582/750'

Happy Choppers depicts a squadron of armed military helicopters with the lead “chopper” dressed in a pink bow. This print is an early example of Banksy’s helicopter motif, an image which gains its strength from its combination of typically contradictory elements. The pink bow sits lightly upon the fighter aircraft making a mockery of their masculinity while also highlighting their inherent danger. This added decoration forces the viewer to question the helicopter’s military intention which becomes neutralized when dressed up in a girly pink bow. Used on both protest pickets and public walls, Banksy has revisited the Happy Chopper image numerous times and it has since become an iconic part of his repertoire. Accompanied by Pest Control certificate of authenticity. —Courtesy of Julien’s Auctions

Signature: Unsigned

Image rights: Courtesy of Julien’s Auctions

About Banksy

Whether plastering cities with his trademark parachuting rat, painting imagined openings in the West Bank barrier in Israel, or stenciling “We’re bored of fish” above a penguins’ zoo enclosure, Banksy creates street art with an irreverent wit and an international reputation that precedes his anonymous identity. “TV has made going to the theatre seem pointless, photography has pretty much killed painting,” he says, “but graffiti has remained gloriously unspoilt by progress.” Banksy has gained his notoriety through a range of urban interventions, from modifying street signs and printing his own currency to illegally hanging his own works in institutions such as the Louvre and the Museum of Modern Art. Most often using spray paint and stencils, Banksy has crafted a signature, immediately identifiable graphic style—and a recurring cast of cops, soldiers, children, and celebrities—through which he critically examines contemporary issues of consumerism, political authority, terrorism, and the status of art and its display.

British, Bristol, United Kingdom