Banksy Has Launched A Bizarre Shop That Will Never Open
Banksy has opened his own retail store in an act of revenge against a greeting card company which has its eyes on his name.
The elusive street artist drew crowds in South London on Tuesday for the mysterious opening of his 'Gross Domestic Product' store.
A range of branded homewares are on display, including a disco ball made from police riot helmets, and a truck into which children can load wooden migrant figures.
But there's a catch -- its doors will never open.
The showroom in Croydon is temporary and for display purposes only, with all sales to be made online.
Banksy said the move came about from a trademark dispute.
“A greeting card company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally," he said in a statement reported by several media outlets.
The idea to begin his own range of merchandise and to open a shop reportedly came from arts lawyer Mark Stephens, who is giving Banksy legal advice.
The lawyer said Banksy is in a "difficult position" because he doesn't produce his own range of "shoddy merchandise".
"The law is quite clear -- if the trademark holder is not using the mark, then it can be transferred to someone who will," Stephens said.
'Gross Domestic Product' is Banksy's solution.
The artist said all proceeds will go towards a migrant rescue boat to replace one allegedly confiscated by Italian authorities.
But he maintains his position on copyright has not changed.
"I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism," Banksy said.
"I just don't want them [the greeting card company] to get sole custody of my name."
The showroom will be on display in Croydon for the next few weeks, and is best viewed at night, Banksy said.
The mysterious unveiling comes as Banksy's popular painting depicting the House of Commons packed with chimpanzees is set to go under the hammer later this week.