U.K.-based mystery artist Banksy on Tuesday (October 1, 2019) revealed the launch of a pop-up shop in Croydon, a neighborhood in South London. Called Gross Domestic Product, the location was built in response to a legal dispute with Full Colour Black, an English greeting card company that photographs and reproduces his public graffiti works
As with all things Banksy, there’s is a catch. While the store and the items (all made from recycled textiles) in it are real, for two weeks following the opening interested shoppers may peer in through the windows at the merchandise, but they can’t purchase it. Items will be sold online on grossdomesticproduct.com at a later date.
Offerings include the famed vest worn by Stormzy at Glastonbury earlier this summer, along with door mats made by women in Greek detainment camps and a disco ball police riot helmet. With pricing starting at 10 pounds, the collection of goods also includes some of Banksy’ most copied works of art, including a reproduction of a masked protester hurling a bouquet of flowers sprayed on a wall in Jerusalem in 2003.
In an Instagram post announcing the store, a flier reads, “The company has come about as a result of legal action. A greeting cards company are trying to seize legal custody of the name Banksy from the artist, who has been advised the best way to prevent this is to sell his own range of branded merchandise.”
Commenting on the effort, attorney Mark Stephens, who founded the Design and Artists Copyright Society, explained to ITV, “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.”
Banksy has stated the proceeds from store sales will go toward funding a new migrant rescue boat to replace the one confiscated by Italian authorities.