The prints have been an essential part of Banksy’s “oeuvre”. The idea behind making prints is to provide affordable artwork for a broader public. The first regular print release was “Rude Copper” in 2002. Since then, a total of 49 motives have been used for making prints. Some of the motives have been printed in different colorways. If we include all of these colorways, the total count is approximately 125 different prints. The editions are relatively small, ranging from 10 up to 1000, where 300 would be the most common edition.
There is a waterproof authentication system imposed by Pest Control Office, Banksy’s handling office. The limited supply and the authentication system have created a very dynamic market where some of the most coveted prints are sold for well over 50,000 GBP on the secondary market – i.e., pieces bought and sold between collectors at auctions or at dealers/galleries. The same print might have been sold by Banksy for 100 GBP at the initial release, back in the early 2000s.
The following is a simplified retrospective of Banksy prints. It only reflects the motive and the year it was released. It doesn’t count the different colorways and other differences between the above-mentioned releases. But, it does give a feel of how Banksy evolved artistically during the 2000s.
Banksy print release 2002
Banksy print releases 2003
Banksy print releases 2004
Banksy print releases 2005
Banksy print releases 2006
Banksy print releases 2007
Banksy print releases 2008
Banksy print releases 2009
Banksy print release 2010
The Warhol-inspired “Tesco Soup Can” come in 28 different colorways, the Keith Haring tribute “Choose Your Weapon” come in 17 different combinations. “Toxic Mary”, “Kate Moss” and “Nola” are some other prints with different colors.
Several other motives have been released in slightly different versions. Examples are the prints released at the Barely Legal exhibition in 2006. These earlier versions of Morons, Applause, Trolleys, and Grannies go under the name “LA Editions”. The year after, there were releases in London of the same prints but with some variations.
The last regular print released by Pest Control Office was the Keith Haring-inspired “Choose Your Weapon” in 2010. Since then there have been two print releases, but in limited editions, “Love Hurts” in 2012 and “Dumbo” in 2014.