Earlier this month, a mysterious installation appeared in Croydon: an abandoned shop window was suddenly filled with a selection of Banksy artworks, including the stab-proof vest worn by Stormzy during his historic Glastonbury set. Now, as the ‘showroom’ closes down, the elusive artist has launched his much-anticipated online shop.
Called Gross Domestic Product – ‘the homewares brand from Banksy™’ – the store offers buyers the chance to purchase limited edition Banksy products. From traditional items, including a signed clock “to accurately mark our relentless and steady ticking towards the great unknown”, “unlimited edition” t-shirts (including a shredded one – get it?), a mug apparently designed by kids and signed by Banksy, and cushions that read, ‘Life’s too short to take advice from a cushion’, to more expensive artworks, including a Met police disco ball ceiling light, a clutch bag made out of a “genuine real life house brick” – which is “perfect for the kind of person who doesn’t carry much but might need to whack someone in the face” – Stormzy’s stab-vest, and more.
As this is Banksy, buying the items isn’t as simple as clicking ‘add to cart’ and inputting your bank details. The website states that “sales are not allocated on a first come first serve basis, but selected at random once vetted through the customer question”. Each buyer can only buy one item from the store – the site will remove orders from duplicate IP addresses – and has to answer the question: ‘Why does art matter?’ Responses will reportedly be monitored by comedian Adam Bloom who wants customers to submit “amusing, informative, or enlightening” answers”. In an interview with HYPEBEAST, Banksy added: “We can’t ever weed out all the people who just want to flip for profit, but we can weed out the unfunny ones.”
The store is open until October 28, and successful applicants will be sent a private link to complete their order.
The site says it’s “not a proper shop”, but is “an actual shop” which “sells stuff and offers refunds and complies with data protection”, but enforces that “all the products are made in an art studio, not a factory”. It continues: “Everything is produced by a handful of people using recycled material wherever possible in a workplace culture of daytime drinking.” It also asks wealthy art collectors to refrain from attempting to buy anything.
The items were displayed for just over two weeks in the pop-up London showroom, though its doors never opened. In an explanatory poster shared on Banksy’s Instagram, the artist revealed that the project was the result of legal action. He explained: “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.”
Given a Banksy painting recently sold for almost £10 million, a £10 mug definitely seems like a worthwhile investment – if you can get your hands on it, anyway. Good luck!