The elusive ‘Street Artist’ Banksy has lashed out at the American clothing retailer Guess on Instagram for stealing his well-known ‘Flower Thrower’ painting to sell jeans and hoodies in retail shops.
The once aspirational youth brand has lost the plot
The once aspirational youth brand has lost the plot, trying to show its ‘street cred’ by aligning its latest mass-produced collection with the artist who has recently been in Ukraine, showing his support for the war-torn country.
In an Instagram post, Banksy invited his 11.5 million followers to shoplift from Guess’ shop located on Regent Street in London, “They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to them?”
Guess has not responded to the allegations or negative publicity surrounding the error of judgement. However, staff have closed the section to the public and covered up the offending reproduction of ‘Flower Thrower’ in its window display. They have also put on more security to address the risk of shoplifting.
Guess co-founder Paul Marciano described Banksy’s work as a “phenomenal influence on popular culture”. While copyright lawyer Liz Ward told BBC News that Brandalised does appear to have “legitimately sourced the Banksy artwork via a third party”. A very grey area, as an artist should have the final say on a campaign of this scale.
Banksy is no stranger to tracking down IP thieves. In a recent court case involving a European Union trademark dispute, the artist won an appeal over ‘Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge (2002), depicting a monkey wearing a sandwich board. The case has cemented who owns what, while preserving the artist’s hidden identity.
Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based street artist, political activist and film director whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. Active since the 1990s, his satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique. His political and social commentary works have appeared on streets, walls and bridges worldwide. Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Banksy says that he was inspired by 3D, a graffiti artist and founding member of the musical group Massive Attack.