It's called Gross Domestic Product and it's currently on display in a large locked storefront in Croydon, a blue-collar borough of greater London. The collection of Banksy creations appeared overnight and was greeted as a pleasant surprise by locals on Oct. 1. The renegade artist announced its arrival via social media.
Banksy Has a Line of Homewares Now—But For the Best Possible Reason
Though the storefront does feature a variety of original Banksy artworks, as well as the infamous Union Jack "stab vest" worn by London emcee Stormzy during his Glastonbury Festival set last year, Gross Domestic Product really is a new line of homewares, designed by Banksy, that will go on sale shortly at a new, dedicated website.
The range is exactly what you'd expect from the always provocative street artist. There's a rug that appears to be made from the pelt of Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger. There are throw pillows that instruct: "LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO TAKE ADVICE FROM A CUSHION." There are curtain pullbacks made from heavy chains and padlocks, wall clocks that resemble rats running on exercise wheels, and a crib surrounded by CCTV cameras. There are even welcome mats made of life jackets, that were sewn together by refugees from detainment camps in Greece. (All proceeds from the sale will go back to the people that made them.)
The reason for this unexpected dystopian pop-up shop? A greeting card company is contesting Banksy's trademark to his own work. "Banksy is in a difficult position because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear," his lawyer Mark Stephens explained. "If the trademark holder is not using the mark then it can be transferred to someone who will." As such, Banksy needed to prove the trademark was still active—Gross Domestic Product is the result.
Mugs, plates and clothing are also visible in the windows, and in a statement, Banksy said: "We hope to offer something for everyone, prices start from £10 but availability will be limited." The artist also clarified that: "I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism. I just don’t want [the greeting card company] to get sole custody of my name."