When Banksy opened his homewares store Gross Domestic Product in London, he made it clear that interested buyers weren't in for a regular shopping experience. While the Croydon store location certainly drew crowds, and got the world buzzing, it wasn't possible to actually step inside and purchase anything. For that, Banksy stated that online sales would start soon. And now, about two weeks later, Banksy's merchandise is up for sale on the Gross Domestic Product official website.
With Banksy's original artwork coming off a record-breaking sale, it would be easy to think that savvy collectors would already be scooping up the merch. But, in typical Banksy fashion, he's not making it that simple. If you want something from Gross Domestic Product, you'll need to be patient. In an effort to make things more democratic—and keep items off of eBay—interested buyers are asked to register their interest for specific items.
The website is clear from the outset that this homewares store doesn't work on a “first come, first serve” basis. Until October 28, shoppers can browse the items—which are also on display at the Croydon location—and sign up to a list. Each buyer can only sign up for one item—so choose wisely—and will also be asked to answer a question. The reply to this question will be vital—if demand spikes, they will be used to help evaluate who gets to make the purchase. In fact, buyers are asked to make their answers “as amusing, informative or enlightening as possible.” Who will be vetting the responses? According to the site, “the judge is impartial and independent, and is a professional stand up comedian.”
So while you are dreaming up a clever answer, let's look at what's for sale. If you're looking for a real bargain, the Banksy™ Balloon Tee and Banksy™ Black spray cans are real bargains. They're available as unlimited editions and running a relatively economical £35 and £10, respectively. Items like the Banksy™ Shredded Tee, available as an open edition for £30, pay homage to some of the artist's biggest stunts. Other items, like the stab vest that rapper Stormzy wore at Glastonbury, are one-of-a-kind and will run a bit higher. However, at £850, the stab vest is just a fraction of the cost of a regular Banksy original.
In fact, Gross Domestic Product isn't aimed at the high-end collector. A disclaimer on the store's website actually states that wealthy art collectors should “refrain from registering at this time,” in order to give lower-income art lovers a chance at this piece of history. It will be interesting to see if Banksy's safeguards keep these items out of the hands of people looking to flip the work and make a profit and, instead, into the homes of those who could never afford a $12 million painting.