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Banksy Opens His Own Homewares Store in London

Street artist Banksy is at it again. This time, he’s surprised the public with a new pop-up shop in London’s Croydon neighborhood. For two weeks, people can take in Banksy’s Gross Domestic Product, a homewares store that is only viewable from the outside. Serving as a showroom for numerous objects, including many based on his famous artwork, the windows house a wide variety of items. Some of the pieces on display will eventually be for sale via the shop’s website.

As soon as the windows were visible, curious crowds flocked to the area to take in the anonymous artist’s latest installation. Items in the shop include a Tony the Tiger rug, a stab-proof Union Jack vest that British rapper Stormzy wore at Glastonbury, and a print of a Basquiat-inspired Ferris wheel based on a piece Banksy painted at the Barbican Center. Those with a keen eye will also notice the fireplace and stenciled wallpaper from his Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem.

Being a homewares store, there are also functional items like plates and dishes decorated with motifs from Banksy’s most famous stencils, as well as welcome mats stitched by refugees in a Greek detainment camp. In keeping with his typical political and social commentary, the store features a wood doll set that appears quaint and sweet until one realizes that the dolls are handing their babies off to smugglers. Banksy hasn’t lost his sense of humor, however. Embroidered pillows that state “Life Is Too Short. To Take Advice From a Cushion,” are a fun reminder of the artist’s ironic view of the world.

So what can one buy from the shop? The welcome mats and dolls will be up for sale, with the proceeds of the mats going to the refugees who made them and the profits from the wood dolls going to Pia Klemp, the German boat captain who had her boat seized by the Italian government for assisting migrants at sea. Additional items for sale include partially used spray cans for £10.

 

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While this may seem like just another art installation, there’s a serious reason behind the creation of Gross Domestic Product. In Banksy’s official Instagram post announcing the store, he featured a sign that clearly spells out the legal reason behind the project. Apparently, a greeting card company is attempting to seize legal control over the name Banksy. Therefore, under a judge’s recommendation, the artist has decided to start his own line of branded merchandise to protect himself.

“Banksy is in a difficult position because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear—if the trademark holder is not using the mark then it can be transferred to someone who will,” lawyer Mark Stevens, who works with the artist, told Colossal.

It’s an interesting conundrum for an artist who has always allowed his work to be used by third parties. One only needs to pop into any open-air market in London to see how ubiquitous his artwork is on t-shirts, posters, and magnets. But that same generosity of usage has, apparently, brought about its own issues. So for now, Banksy is making an effort to make sure that his name stays his own.

“I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism. I just don’t want them to get sole custody of my name,” the artist stated.

There’s no official word as to when the Gross Domestic Product items will be up for grabs, so keep your eyes glued to Banksy’s Instagram and the GDP website for updates.

Update: Gross Domestic Product is now open for online sales. You have until October 28 to register your interest for one item via the store’s official website.

Banksy’s Gross Domestic Product is a pop-up homewares store in London’s Croydon neighborhood.

 

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Shoppers can’t enter, but can look at the items set up in multiple window displays.

 

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Banksy has created the branded merchandise to keep copyright over his own name.

 

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The items will go on sale via the Gross Domestic Product website at an unknown date.

 

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Banksy: Website | Instagram
h/t: [Colossal]

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