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Elusive Street Artist Sells ... Coffee Mugs?

Banksy sells kitschy items in online store
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2019 4:15 PM CDT
People admire works by artist Bansky on display in Rome's Palazzo Cipolla Museum as part of the exhibit called "War, Capitalism and Liberty," Monday, May 23, 2016.   (Massimo Percossi/ANSA via AP)

(Newser) – Banksy is selling T-shirts, mugs, and pillows. You can read that again. Yes, the world's most famous street artist—whose disdain for commercial success is no secret—has opened an online store selling various tongue-in-cheek products decorated à la Banksy, ARTnews reports. Shoppers at Gross Domestic Product can peruse items like the Banksy Baby Mobile, with 19 small CCTV cameras aimed at the crib, or the Bansky Ultra HD TV, a 55-inch color TV boasting a Bansky image. There's also the Banksy Shredded Tee, a shredded T-shirt showing his Girl With Balloon, the 2006 work that was remotely shredded after it sold last October for roughly $1.4 million at Sotheby's in London. So as any Bansky fan would ask, what's the gag?

Looks like it's hard business wrapped in a gag. The England-based artist says he created the store—filled with "offensive and impractical" items—over a trademark battle with the greeting-card company Full Colour Black, per Quartz. "A greetings card company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally," he says. So he started the online shop to establish his trademark and try to win the dispute. But fun isn't entirely dead: All prospective buyers must answer a question on the site about why art matters, per the BBC. Comedian Adam Bloom is said to be the arbiter. "We can't ever weed out all the people who just want to flip for profit, but we can weed out the unfunny ones," says Bansky. (Read more street art stories.)

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