Walmart is selling copies of Banksy. Unauthorized copies of Banksy for anywhere from $26.87 to $868.99 if you want it super-sized. And yes these, like the Banksys you can get on eBay are not official Banksy art, which makes them not really worthless or valuable. But this is not one Banksy’s pranks. Jo Brooks, Banksy’s publicist told LAist:
The Banksy canvases you showed me are counterfeit reproductions and we are currently dealing with Walmart about them.
Walmart appears to simply list these prints which are actually sold and shipped from other websites like Wayfair.com and PlumStruck; and those sites, which sell the pieces for the same price as Walmart, don’t reveal where they get the work. But wherever it’s from, it’s not authorized by the artist. Now granted, Walmart or any retailer could sell a picture that you or I took of a Banksy, but they couldn’t say it was art by Banksy, instead it’s a photo by me or by you of a Banksy. But that isn’t what’s being done.
And some of the images aren’t even Banksy! There’s a Mr. Brainwash, Life is Beautiful, that’s identified as Banksy (and apparently being sold through Walmart without the artist’s permission). And Eddie Colla–whose artwork stenciled with
If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission
and mislabeled as a Banksy is being sold (without permission) through Walmart–told L.A. Taco exactly how he he felt about mega-Borg-mart selling his art
I made a piece about individuals controlling their own fate and not making their success contingent on the approval of others. It then gets adopted by a neo-feudal corporation like Walmart. A corporation whose employment practices have created a 2 million person underclass in this country. That’s where this becomes an issue of conviction…Walmart is right there on the wrong side of history. As far as the Banksy thing, that’s just ignorance. It’s common when a group of people try to cash in on something they know little or nothing about. All they see is an opportunity to exploit something and make some money. They see a stencil and call it a Banksy.
Colla took matters into his own hands, creating a new print mocking Walmart with the words
It’s Only Stealing If You Get Caught
The print run is sold out. Colla’s original If you want to achieve greatness… is also being sold by Amazon as a Banksy.
Amazon and eBay both have lots of “Banksy” available, so this is a large problem of artists’ work being
appropriated stolen and sold though online retailers who either have no clue or don’t care.
One is Banksy, one isn’t.
This is Mr. Brainwash:
These are Eddie Colla:
Eddie Colla says:
Walmart waves American Flags, kowtows to a hypocritical right wing Christian ideology but that’s merely a marketing strategy. If Walmart actually believed in any part of that ridiculous rhetoric they would certainly never put work by an artist like me in their stores.
Art geek side note: The term “rip off” comes from the turn of the 19th century when posters would be slapped up to advertise operas, plays, circuses and the like. Crooks would follow behind the postering crews and literally “rip off” the posters from the walls, either to sell or because they worked for rival productions.