Graffiti artist Banksy has opened a new online homewares store, called Gross Domestic Product. The launch was signalled by a new installation-come-shop in Croydon, which stocks Banksy-related goods but cannot actually be entered.
Announcing the new store via his Instagram, the illusive artist said that the Croydon shop is a “showroom” for “display purposes only” but that “all sales will be conducted online when the website opens soon.” A landing page featuring an image of a flooded mall can currently be found at grossdomesticproduct.com.
The signage suggests that the decision to open a store was due to an ongoing legal battle over naming rights. It reads, “This shop has come about as a result of a 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.”
Offering “something for everyone”, the store will stock products “handmade in the UK using existing or recycled material wherever possible, including the ideas.”
Objects on show at the Croydon store include a cushion embroidered with “Life’s too short to take advice from a cushion” and replicas of the Union Jack stab vest Banksy designed for Stormzy’s Glastonbury appearance earlier this summer. Text accompanying the black vest reads, “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 caliber and is fully stab proof. As worn by Stormzy at Glastonbury festival (because it’s very dangerous there). Yet not machine washable. Signed. Edition of 5 plus 2 A/P.”
The auction-like language used for descriptions of the goods may be a nod to the sale of Banksy’s famous Devolved Parliament (a painting of the House of Commons filled with chimps), which is due to sell at Sotheby’s today (3 October). Painted in 2009, it is expected to fetch between £1.5-2m.