Flying Copper Banksy 2003 unsigned
Flying Copper is an early iconic image from Banksy. The work shows a heavily armed British police officer with little angel wings and a yellow smiley face. Flying Copper was visible under the form of giant cutout paintings on cardboard suspended from the ceiling at Turf War, Banksy’s first major exhibition which took place in a warehouse in London’s East End in 2003. The cutouts were then spotted on the streets of London and Vienna. In London, the stencil appeared with a distinct red Banksy tag through the middle of the street piece. Shoreditch Bridge also housed a row of paste up Flying Coppers but unfortunately part of this installation was stolen and featured in a 2012 documentary called ‘How to sell a Banksy’. Created on a monochrome background (sky blue or pink depending on the edition), Flying Copper exhibits a strange and paradoxical stencilled character. Indeed the policeman, who is fully equipped with a machine-gun, a helmet, a walkie-talkie and handcuffs, is presented with a striking yellow smiley face which evokes of 1990s acid house culture but also a simply-drawn popular and childlike design. The background, made with a bright single colour, also evokes simplicity and childishness.
On his back are a pair of delicate, white angel wings. Banksy’s artwork, like most of his creations, is based on the appropriation of pop culture but also on contrasts. There is a clear satirical contrast between happiness and the simplicity of life and the starkness of the peace officers. The use of the smiley face and the angel wings suggests that this officer is not aggressive and almost angelic, whereas his equipment evokes oppression and threat. Flying Copper underlines the artist’s scepticism towards the ones with authority and power. The subject which is tackled in this work is quite reminiscent of the one in Banksy’s Love is in the Air, Monkey Queen or Turf War.
Condition: Excellent condition with no faults, framed in non reflective Artglass to protect against UV rays
Height: 44.88” Inches / 114cm
Width: 33.07” Inches / 84cm
Depth: 1” Inches / 3cm.