Banksy Pulp Fiction: Misunderstood Yet Humorous and Meaningful

Banksy Pulp Fiction
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons User Bruce Krasting / CC BY 2.0

Banksy art gets misinterpreted all the time, either by official authorities or overly conservative people. For them, the fact that street art is also art is somehow self-contradictory. Though Banksy has become an internationally accepted street artist, the question of whether he promotes vandalism or not is still open to debate. That is actually why sometimes his wall murals end up being painted over. Banksy Pulp Fiction is but a good example. Let’s see how a humorous and light-hearted satire was destroyed because some people did not get it.

Banksy Pulp Fiction

Banksy painted Pulp Fiction back in 2002 in London’s Old Street neighborhood. The piece depicts an iconic scene from Quentin Tarantino’s eponymous 1994 movie Pulp Fiction. In the film, two main protagonists, Vincent and Jules – played by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson – stand side-by-side and hold their guns as if ready to shoot. Banksy, though, replaced guns with bananas, which produced a truly humorous effect.

Such an ‘extremely outrageous act of violence’ was handled by Transport For London. The local government body considered Banksy Pulp Fiction as such promoting crime and antisocial actions. In 2007, the work was painted over. The graffiti artist did not give up and retagged his piece later that year. The only difference is that the two were holding real guns, and yet they were wearing banana costumes instead.

The irony is that Banksy fights against war and derides violence. His reference to pop culture is obvious, while his message is everything but a plea for robbing and killing people. Despite the tragic fate of the wall painting, the print of Banksy Pulp Fiction was sold for £125,000 at Tate Ward Auctions on November 24, 2020. There are other similar Banksy prints that appear in the market from time to time, but nothing can beat his original works, of course.