Banksy just unveiled his latest work, a less celebratory tone follows after his opening statement as the artist shares the influencing events leading to this project were“possibly the least poetic reason to ever make some art.” Banksy is currently facing a trademark dispute. The renowned street artist opened his homeware shop in London following a legal dispute with a greeting card company in attempts to fight the laws allowing them to use his trademark.
The shop, named Gross Domestic Product, appeared in the Croydon neighborhood, on Church Street. The installation will be up for two weeks, featuring numerous window displays. Not all, but several items will be available for purchase on GDP’s associated online store including welcome mats (Banksy hired refugees in Greek detainment camps to stitch, donating all the proceeds to them). Revenue generated by the doll sets will also support the purchase of a replacement boat for activist Pia Klemp. Klemp’s boat was confiscated by the Italian government after she was accused of aiding illegal immigration when saving people from drowning in the Mediterranean.
“A greeting card company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art,” the artist said in a statement. “And attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally.
Mark Stephens, an arts lawyer and founder of the Design and Artists Copyright Society, is guiding Banksy with legal advice in this sticky situation. “Banksy is in a difficult position,” he said. “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.”
Stephens proposed that Banksy begin his own range of merchandise and open a shop as a solution to the issue. Banksy’s homeware store will not be open to the public, all items for sale will only be available online.