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  • An aloof, hooded figure wearing a mask, baggy jeans and trainers stands casually with one hand in his pocket – diametrically opposed to the frenzied, barking dog whose leash he tightly grips. The unidentifiable figure, whose appearance is much alike how Banksy is often represented, combines the artist’s quintessential stencil technique with a greater realism and three-dimensionality. His minimalist dog however, is rendered in a flat, hieroglyphic style with a thick black outline and solid white centre. The contrasting figures of Banksy’s Choose Your Weapon first appeared in life-size scale on the wall of a pub in Bermondsey, South London, in 2010. The work refers to the increase in gang violence in the UK and the adoption of dogs trained to aggressively attack. Portraying man’s best friend acting as his weapon, the image is a commentary on the disaffected youth of modern Britain. 
    'Mindless vandalism can take a bit of thought.'
    —Banksy 

    Banksy’s barking dog also pays tribute to Keith Haring’s famous icon from the 1980s. One of the street artist’s most universally recognised symbols, colourful canines with mouths open mid-yap are found throughout his body of work, from early subway tags to merchandise sold in Haring’s Pop Shops. The dog as a character has come to represent authoritarian governments, abuses of power, and police states, with artists using the symbol to warn against a mirage of oppressive regimes. Like Haring, Banksy appropriates this symbol to spread his own message. The simplicity of the dog, with its associations to Haring’s playful and cartoonish visual language, evoke a detachment to the reality of danger. It implies that the youth are often demonised and misrepresented as threatening, as well as echoing their distrust of the authorities. In adopting Haring’s motif and adding the drips of wet paint, Choose Your Weapon reminds us that the visual language of graffiti is a powerful weapon in combatting oppression. Here, Banksy declares Art to be his weapon in the fight for peace and democratic freedom, and invites the viewer to choose their own. 

    • Artist Biography

      Banksy

      British • 1975 - N/A

      Anonymous street artist Banksy first turned to graffiti as a miserable fourteen year old disillusioned with school. Inspired by the thriving graffiti community in his home city, Bristol, Banksy's works began appearing on trains and walls in 1993, and by 2001 his blocky, spray-painted works had cropped up all over the United Kingdom. Typically crafting his images with spray paint and cardboard stencils, Banksy is able to achieve a meticulous level of detail. His aesthetic is clean and instantly readable due to his knack for reducing complex political and social statements to simple visual elements.

      His graffiti, paintings and screenprints use whimsy and humour to satirically critique war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed — with not even the Royal family safe from his anti-establishment wit.

      View More Works

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Choose Your Weapon (Dark Purple)

2010
Screenprint in colours, on wove paper, with full margins.
I. 60.1 x 60 cm (23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.)
S. 70.2 x 70 cm (27 5/8 x 27 1/2 in.)

Signed and numbered 'AP/18' in purple pencil (one of 58 artist's proofs in varying colourways), published by Pictures on Walls, London, with the accompanying Certificate of Authenticity issued by Pest Control, unframed.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £151,200

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 19-20 January 2022