Is Banksy launching a secondary market dealership?

Banksy's online store is now open for business

After two weeks as a window display in a former carpet shop in Croydon, south London, Banksy has launched his online merchandise store, Gross Domestic Product. Prices start at £10 for an old can of spray paint rising to £850 for a “John Bull” stab vest “as worn by Stormzy at Glastonbury festival (because its very dangerous there)”.

There is a collaboration with the Spanish artist Escif in the form of a resin axe (£750) and a partnership with the social enterprise Love Welcomes consisting of welcome mats stitched by refugee women out of salvaged life vests (£500 each; proceeds go to the women). A new triptych version of Banksys Flower Thrower is available for £750 (edition of 100), although wealthy collectors are discouraged from applying for any of the pieces as the first consignment has been priced “far below market value” for “lower income patrons”.

Alongside new works, all made in the studio, Banksy also hints he could be moving into secondary market territory with Bbay, “the approved used Banksy dealership”. A tab at the bottom of his new website simply says the dealership is coming soon. “Your first choice destination to trade in second-hand work by a third-rate artist” is the tagline beneath a photograph of a man by a Transit van surrounded by Banksy paintings and car boot offerings such as fake fur coat and chintzy ceramics.

The secondary market has been a point of contention for Banksy, even inspiring him to infiltrate Sothebys last October and remotely shred one of his own canvases live at auction. With no gallery there has been limited control over who acquires his works, something he seems to be addressing now. A section dedicated to the secondary market on his new website reads: “Our prices may rise from time to time, but that does not mean that the value of anything that you buy from us will increase. Please buy an item because you like it, not because you think it is a good investment.”

It continues: “If an item is offered for sale on the secondary market before receipt, or if GDP reasonably believes that it might be offered for sale before or after receipt, then GDP reserve the right to no longer fulfil the order to that customer.”

It was a dispute over Banksys trademark that prompted the launch of the store, according to the artist, who said a greeting card company called Full Colour Black was contesting his rights to his own name and imagery, “so they can legally use it to sell their fake Banksy merchandise”.

Mark Stephens, the DACS chairman and media lawyer who was advising Banksy during the legal row, describes it as “frankly ludicrous litigation”, but adds: “The law clearly states that if the trademark holder is not using the mark then it should be handed to someone who will.” His solution? Create a merchandise range and open a shop.

Having once claimed that copyright is for losers, Banksy is keen to make clear on his new website that he “continues to encourage the copying, borrowing and uncredited use of his imagery for amusement, activism and education purposes”. However: “Selling reproductions, creating your own line of merchandise and fraudulently misrepresenting knock off Banksy Read More – Source