Have A Nice Day is an early period Banksy print. It first appeared in early 2003 as an edition of 500 screen prints. At least 50 were signed, but these are rare and hard to find. The print was re-released in 2005 in a rarefied edition of 31 (all signed). Have a Nice Day is a classic example of two popular Banksy motifs: military brigades and the yellow “Smiley” face.
Banksy’s Have A Nice Day is an unusual artwork because of its dimensions. Most of Banksy’s prints in 2002-2004 were 50cm x 70cm, but Have A Nice Day is roughly 32cm x 100cm. The image depicts two rows of armed soldiers that extend to the edges of the artwork, flanked in the center by a large fighter tank. The nonbreaking rows so close to the foreground of the picture plane crowd and stifle the composition, making the viewer feel stifled. The soldiers and tanks are all stenciled in black and gray on a simple white background, but every last one of them has a flat yellow “Smiley” under the shade of their helmet.
The bright, simply-drawn smiley face presents a childlike design of contentment that it is ripe for subversion, having been associated with both the acceptance and vilification of 1960s/1970s peace ideals and 1980s/1990s acid house culture (not to mention hundreds of other positive and negative pop culture appropriations). Here the symbolism is sinister, presenting friendly, vacant smiles while disguising the soldiers’ capacity to kill.
Banksy is an outspoken critic of militarism and modern colonialism. In Have A Nice Day, the yellow smiley faces represent the public intent of foreign military occupation: to help protect the people while the occupiers improve the government. To a resident of a country that has been occupied by the United States or one of its allies, that image is more haunting than satirical — it suggests encroachment, entrapment, and martial justice.
If you would like to sell your Banksy art, Have A Nice Day is an early and highly provocative image that Banksy collectors are always after. If you would like to buy Banksy’s Have A Nice Day, it is a classic and valuable example of some of Banksy’s most iconic motifs at an early juncture in his career. Hexagon Gallery is the leader for Banksy art sales in the United States. To sell or buy Banksy art, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.