Banksy: Excavated Happy Choppers Mural Could Fetch £700k 

Banksy, Holywell Row Happy Helicopters. Image courtesy of Anderson & Garland.

A well-documented Banksy mural painted in 2006 is to be auctioned in Newcastle. The highly anticipated reboot is seen as an event by many street art fans and nothing short of a second coming. The artwork is to go under the hammer at Anderson & Garland Auctioneers. Titled “Happy Choppers,” the artwork offers an exclusive opportunity for Banksy enthusiasts to see a piece of urban art history. However, putting a price on an extracted Banksy mural is questionable as neither the artist nor Pest Control the artist’s authentication board will validate the artwork.

The artwork, characterised by its Apocalypse Now-style Apache helicopters—a recurring motif in Banksy’s body of work—holds a significant place in the artist’s oeuvre. Painted in early 2006 on a wall in London’s vibrant Shoreditch area, “Happy Choppers” quickly became a celebrated emblem of Banksy’s provocative and thought-provoking style. However, its fate took an unexpected turn when security concerns prompted the building’s owner to cover the artwork with layers of black paint, shrouding it in obscurity.

“Happy Choppers” journey took a fortunate turn when the current owner became aware of a book chronicling Banksy’s artworks. The businessman stumbled upon a familiar sight—an unmistakable image captured within the pages. Realisation dawned that the obscured masterpiece resided within the walls of their property, sparking a quest to uncover and preserve the concealed treasure.

The task of salvaging and restoring the artwork posed unprecedented challenges, given its unconventional medium and the intricacies of its execution. Rendered on a wall with layers of spray paint, the mural’s removal required delicate precision and meticulous planning to ensure its preservation. The restoration effort, undertaken by Fine Art Restoration Company specialists, spanned over a year and involved the careful extraction of the artwork in sections, navigating the inherent fragility of its composition.

The restored “Happy Choppers” emerged from this meticulous process as a testament to perseverance and dedication, bearing the hallmark of Banksy’s ingenuity and artistic vision. Featuring three striking Apache helicopters adorned with pink bows, the artwork encapsulates Banksy’s signature blend of irony, humour, and social commentary, inviting viewers to engage with its provocative imagery.

The unveiling of “Happy Choppers” at Anderson & Garland’s Spring Country House & Fine Interiors Auction marks a momentous occasion for street art enthusiasts and collectors alike. The auction house, renowned for its track record of facilitating sales of Banksy originals, anticipates a flurry of global interest in the highly coveted artwork.

Fred Wyrley-Birch, Director of Anderson & Garland, expressed enthusiasm for presenting another original Banksy piece to the discerning art market, citing the institution’s commitment to showcasing exceptional artworks of cultural significance. With expectations running high, the auction promises to attract art connoisseurs and institutions worldwide who are eager to acquire a piece of Banksy’s storied legacy.

Ahead of the auction on March 20, Anderson & Garland will host three viewing days in March, offering prospective bidders an opportunity to admire “Happy Choppers” up close and appreciate its intricate details. The event represents a convergence of art, history, and cultural significance, underscoring Banksy’s enduring impact on the contemporary art landscape.

Top Photo: Banksy, Holywell Row Happy Helicopters. Image courtesy of Anderson & Garland.

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