The composition consists of the multiple portrait of the subject, Sid Vicious, in a square, three-by-three grid format totalling nine repetitions. Achieved via the street artist's stencil, this multiplication is deliberately evocative of the work of Andy Warhol, whose repeated portraits of world-famous celebrities--from Jackie Kennedy to Elvis Presley to Mick Jagger--spearheaded the global omnipotence of Pop Art and have conditioned global visual culture ever since.
The three-by-three compositional arrangement of nine heads is a direct reference to Warhol's 'Mao' and 'Marilyn' reversal series, executed from 1979, in which nine representations appeared in a similar grid format.
The use of diamond dust also quotes the work of Andy Warhol, who utilised the innovative material in a variety of portraits and 'Shadow Painting' works from the 1970s and 1980s.
The infamous bass guitarist for the Sex Pistols band, Sid Vicious remains the foremost embodiment of the Punk phenomenon. Punk aimed to revolutionise mundanity and indifference, railing against the desensitised apathy of mass-produced popular music and culture. Here Banksy brilliantly re-presents the literal personification of Punk – Sid Vicious – in Warhol's instantly recognisable dialect of Pop Art. The resolute individuality that stands at the heart of the Punk ethos is perfectly satirised by its desensitising multiplication.
At the same time, the diamond dust portrait at the centre of Sid Vicious suggests Banksy's ultimate conviction in individuality and freedom of expression.