Fashion/Design, Pop Culture

Has Banksy Sold Out?

The other day I was hanging out at Austin’s uber-indie book store Book People and stumbled across a row of Banksy greeting cards.

My initial thought was, “Oh my God…guerrilla artist, now Hallmark?” but then I thought, “Eh, people need to make a living.”

Selling a line of greeting cards of your famous work does seem kind of counter-intuitive to the guerrilla art culture, but who am I to judge? If you Google Banksy greeting cards“, a link to Banksy’s shop comes up but the link is dead. The search blurb says, “Banksy neither produces or profits from the sale of greeting cards, mugs or photo canvases of his work. He is not represented by any of the commercial galleries…”

I don’t know. What do you guys think? Kind of difficult to trust a guy who made Exit Through the Gift Shop

What do you guys think of Banksy? Sell-out, artist, or marketing genius?

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply Leila December 12, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    It’s difficult to take it easy on someone who has done a collaboration with Damien Hirsch.

    • Reply hipstercrite December 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      Ha. Not a fan of Damien Hirsch?

  • Reply Dale Wilsey Jr. December 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Wasn’t “Exit Through the Gift Shop” made to illustrate a point about the out-of-control monster that grew from Thierry Guetta’s obsession with Banksy, Shepard and street art in general? I didn’t really see it as a sell out move.

    I could see, if these were actually licensed by Banksy, the sell out factor, though.

    • Reply hipstercrite December 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Hey Dale! I think the doc is up for debate. I know a lot of people feel as though it was a scam orchestrated by Banksy.

  • Reply Allison December 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I think the idea about “street art” is that is doesn’t last – it’s often covered or graffitied over. I think the point of Banksy’s doc was (initially) was to show some of the work out there.

    I saw a real Banksy on a wall in Bristol – and someone had shot it up with a paintball gun. Maybe not mugs and greeting cards, but I do see the value in selling prints of these pieces. You can’t really ever have the original unless you cut out part of a brick wall.

    I bought a few Banksy postcards in England. And because he doesn’t truly “own” what he paints, anyone can photograph it and put it on a card.

    • Reply hipstercrite December 13, 2011 at 2:51 am

      hey allison, all great points!

    • Reply Riff Dog December 15, 2011 at 1:29 am

      ” . . . because he doesn’t truly “own” what he paints, anyone can photograph it and put it on a card.”
      That would still violate copyright law. Even though Banksy doesn’t own the “canvas” he paints (or stencils) on, he still owns the underlying “art.” It doesn’t even matter if he committed a crime in painting where he did. He still owns the “intellectual property.” If he sued, it would be a slam dunk win.

      I don’t know anything about the greeting cards, but my guess is that someone is using the images without permission, knowing Banksy would be reluctant to sue, since he would have to show up in court, thus losing the mystery of who he is.

  • Reply jules December 13, 2011 at 1:24 am

    um so i ran across a banksy postcard today actually, and thought the same thing! i am kind of with you, i think a gangsta’s gotta make his money, but “allison” commented that anyone can photograph it and put it on a card, so that could be the case too?

    i think the real thing is the best, and we can just pretend not to see the post cards?

    ps i’m a huge fan of hipstercrite and being a texan with a big love for atx, i think it’s that much more awesome!

    • Reply hipstercrite December 13, 2011 at 2:49 am

      hi jules! thanks for posting! you could be right and i wish i read what the card said on back. this whole point could be a moot point. i just wanted to talk about banksy. :p

  • Reply Dale Wilsey Jr. December 13, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Postcards or not, the man still creates some rather provocative and thought-inducing art. Allison has a wonderful point as well.

    • Reply hipstercrite December 13, 2011 at 2:47 am

      I agree. Whether one likes him or not, he knows how to create work that encourages discussion- which is always good!

  • Reply israel carrasco December 16, 2011 at 2:36 am

    He sold out the minute he decided to copy the stencil style of Blek Le rat. I can’t respect artists who copy other artists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blek_le_Rat

  • Reply Get your art here! - Banksy flogs work for $60 a piece - why? | Blog December 20, 2013 at 9:58 am

    […] means that he has come under fire from a number of other street artists, and even been labelled a “sell out” in news and online […]

  • Reply Get your art here! - Banksy flogs work for $60 a piece - why? | blur Group Blog November 13, 2014 at 5:02 am

    […] means that he has come under fire from a number of other street artists, and even been labelled a “sell out” in news and online […]

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