Apparently out of anger at the use of one of his motifs, the mysterious street artist Banksy seems to have indirectly encouraged his fans to shoplift. The Briton posted a photo on his Instagram account on Friday that is said to show the window of a fashion chain in London. There, the well-known Banksy motif “Flower Thrower” can be seen behind some items of clothing – a masked man who is about to throw a bouquet of flowers.
The window reads: ‘Guess x Brandalised with Banksy graffiti.’ Banksy wrote: ‘Beware pickpockets: please go to Guess on Regent Street. They used my art without asking. How can it be wrong if you do the same with her clothes?” As of Friday evening, more than 900,000 users had given the post a “Like”.
The company previously announced a collection inspired by Banksy’s spray art. According to a press release, creative director Paul Marciano said: “Banksy’s graffiti have had a phenomenal impact that resonates throughout popular culture.” The collection is a way for fashion to say thank you to the artist. It was created in collaboration with Brandalised, whose mission is to “offer affordable graffiti collectibles to Banksy fans”. Brandalised sells numerous products with Banksy motifs. There was initially no reaction from Guess.
Legal gray area
Banksy’s identity is unknown. The only thing that has been clarified is that he comes from Bristol in western England. Most recently, he caused a stir with several graffiti on war-damaged buildings in several Ukrainian cities.
Since Banksy refuses to reveal his personality, he cannot legally assert his authorship either. Various traveling exhibitions by Banksy are also moving in the gray area that this creates – one can currently also be seen in the Wiener Stadthalle. They are all not authorized by the artist.