On 1st October Banksy unveiled a pop-up-shop installation, named Gross Domestic Product, in Croydon, UK, to announce the launch of his merchandise range. According to claims from the artist, he has been forced to release the branded merchandise following legal action from a greeting-card company.
"The showroom is for display purposes only and the doors will not open. All sales will be conducted online when the website opens soon. This shop has come about as a result of legal action, A greetings 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."
Banksy on his Instagram.
Walking past earlier in the day already showed tons of people queueing to see the store. But as Banksy wrote on his Instagram that the shop is "Probably best viewed at night", I decided to go for a bite to eat and return later.
The queue wasn't too bad, with about a 20-minute wait. Everyone was really excited and we had multiple people coming up to enquire about why we were standing there. There were a couple of security guards who were a lot more helpful than the ones in Dismaland.
Below you have some images and information about each window display.
Window display No. 1
Window display No. 2
"Banksy has created the ultimate ceiling mounted stimulus toy to prepare your little one for the journey ahead - a lifetime of constant scrutiny both state sanctioned and self imposed.
Doesn't rotate very well, some self assembly required"
Window display No. 3
"Upcycled from an office supplies store, this timepiece features a trademark Banksy rat and is suitable for home, office or Home Office.
The precision mechanism requires 1x AA battery to accurately mark our relentless and steady ticking towards the great unknown."
And just outside the window was a bit of typical Banksy graffiti:
Window display No. 4
This room had the most items out of the whole exhibit.
The rug was the first thing that you noticed in a room that resembled a YouTube channel - so much was going on, you had trouble concentrating on any one thing. The more you looked the more items you would notice. As with most Banksy art - you never know what's part of the exhibit and what's part of the background. I think in this case everything had a purpose.
"A bit of old carpet painted to resemble the diabetes riddled corpse of Tony the tiger, this floor covering makes quite the conversation piece - especially if the conversation centres around the UK spending over £7.8million a year on tooth extractions for the under 5's.
Carpet with resin head.
Suitable for vegetarians. Signed."
Early Learning Counting Set
"Engage all your child's learning muscles with this fun counting game. See how many figures they can fit in the truck while it makes a quick stop.
Wipe clean finish, contains small parts unsuitable for under 12's."
The proceeds from this item will be used to support the migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean. Banksy also highlights the fact that Italian courts have ruled immigrants illegal, so purchasing this item "could constitute a criminal offence".
Window display No. 5
"A version of the 'John Bull' English gents waistcoat updated for modern times. This customised body armour is capable of stopping bullets up to .45 calibre and is fully stab proof."
This vest was worn by Stormzy at the Glastonbury festival this year.
"A high tensile tactical support grappling hook made from an old wooden cross. Comes with 20ft of knotted rope.
Not suitable for loads over 50kg."
"What do you buy for a person who has everything? A 230kg reminder that you can't take it with you. Hand carved by Banksy ina a slab of Portland stone.
Collection only - from the quarry."
"This home entertainment lighting system is made from an old Police riot helmet and approximately 650 little mirrors.
Comes with heavy duty chain and motor, smoke grenade not included."
This exhibit threw interesting lights on the building opposite:
Window display No. 6
"This fashion-forward accessory is made from a genuine real life house brick and is perfect for the kind of person who doesn't carry much but might need to whack someone in the face.
Probably no less practical than the output of most haute couture fashion houses."
"The same played-out old image, this time attacked with a knife by the artist. On-trend consumers might be aware that Vogue magazine calls 'fringing' a 'hot trend' this season. Shame we don't ship until Christmas."
"The artist is marketing this as a brand new product. It certainly isn't an old can of paint with its label ripped off that he's written his name on.
Some contents may be missing."
"This hard wearing floor covering is hand stitched from life vests abandoned on the beaches of Lesvos by migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Customers are advised that they no longer constitute a valid buoyancy aid - although shockingly they never did - many are cheap fakes sold by people smugglers and don't actually float.
To fabricate the mats Banksy has teamed up with the organisation 'Love Welcomes' who work with women in detainment camps in Greece. All proceeds are retained locally to help refugees access key services."
Ultra HD TV
"Perfect for the snowflake generation, a 55 inch colour TV with a big Banksy painted on it. Whilst totally fine from an art point of view, this does impare viewing quality.
Made to order when the used TVs become available."
Window display No. 7
This display was different than the rest and might just have been an unfinished one. There were no information cards anywhere, and the main thing that caught the eye was a pile of life vests. Knowing Banksy - this had a hidden meaning in itself.
As ever - this exhibition was insightful and thought-provoking, and after returning home I went straight to the website. This screen is what came up:
After a few days, a new screen appeared with rotating products. And then about a week later, the site changed and you could register your interest in a product (you could only purchase one product per household) by completing and submitting the registration form on the site by the closing date (mid-October). You had to provide basic details and the answer to the tie-breaker question (which must be no more than 50 words). The price of items ranged from £10-£850, with all items being sold out.
If you go to the Legal page on the site, there's a link to the Thrower poster that you can download for free.