Banksy has surprised us all yet again, which is ironically pretty unsurprising. The artist has opened a bold and outlandish homeware store, featuring pieces like a Tony the Tiger pelt rug just inches away from a bowl of spilled Frosted Flakes and a baby mobile decorated with video cameras instead of baby ducklings or unicorns. But the real kicker? No one can get into it.
The enigmatic artist’s new store, Gross Domestic Product, popped up in Croydon, London around the beginning of October, staying there for just two weeks after first appearing. A flyer for the store branded with the clever slogan “When art irritates life” explains that this will be the first and only Gross Domestic Product store, and that it’ll act solely as a showroom for display purposes. Though no one can enter the store, customers can now purchase the decorations via an accompanying online shop.
Banksy was inspired to create GDP by “possibly the least poetic reason to ever make some art” — namely, an argument over trademarking law and the right to the name “Banksy.” A greeting card company is contesting the artist’s trademark of his own name in order to take possession of it and then legally sell his trademarked products. As the law currently stands, Banksy may not have a right to his trademark if he does not use it himself. The artist refused to go down without a fight, and is using this new showroom to exhibit both an exciting new art installation and impressive, proactive legal action.
The store is comprised of multiple rooms, each of which is quite unique from the rest. One room, almost completely dark, is lit solely from a disco ball made from a police officer’s helmet. This room houses an eclectic collection of other art pieces, including a gravestone and a large crucifix.
Another room shows wares more likely to be on sale, including a hand-stitched welcome mat and plates and mugs featuring some of his most iconic paintings. In this same room, a large screen displays a mural Banksy created in 2018 of a child sticking his tongue out like he would to taste snowflakes, when in reality it’s ash coming from a nearby pollutant. A frame above states, “crisis as usual.”
Still, the most striking room Gross Domestic Product has to offer is the parlor room with the aforementioned Tony the Tiger rug. In here, Tony’s teeth appear rotten from the sugary cereal. The blood red walls are decorated with a version of Banksy’s Rage, Flower Thrower, as well as stuffed animal head mounts riddled with garbage.
While we don’t have all the details on pricing just yet (not all of the products are currently available), we know that some items start as low as £10. The project also shows an immense effort in sustainability, as all the home goods have been made with as many existing or recycled products as possible. Additionally, they are all handcrafted within the UK.
Some products might be a little too avant-garde for actual purchase, unless you want your little one sleeping and dreaming under ten security cameras, of course. Other items, such as the decorative pillows with quippy sayings, could easily fit into any home. And love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Banksy definitely has something unique and interesting to say with this new line.
Let’s be honest, we didn’t want to have to deal with parking or waiting in line anyways. Happy online shopping!