British graffiti artist, Banksy, has ventured into the e-commerce space with the launch of “Gross Domestic Product”—a platform to sell new art to fans who perhaps can’t afford to bid for a million-dollar truck.
The infamous street artist introduced his new business via an Instagram post, captioning it as “it sells art, homewares and disappointment.” Banksy, however, has added his own twist to how sales are made—interested buyers have to participate in a contest and answer the question, “Why does art matter?” Adam Bloom, a stand-up comedian, will play jury and pick a witty reply, offering the winner an opportunity to purchase the one-of-a-kind piece within a week. The homewares brand was developed for lower-income patrons and the artist has requested wealthy art collectors to refrain from registering, with prices ranging from as little as $13 to $973.
The online store offers more than just the generic mug, t-shirt, and clock merchandise. Fans of British grime rapper, Stormzy, can bid to buy a piece of his onstage attire for just $1,103. Worn at the Glastonbury music festival, the “Banksy Vest” is a customized body armor or a men’s waistcoat spray-painted with a Union Jack. At the higher price point is the $973, “Banksy Clutch bag”. One for the fashion-forward, this impractical handbag is made from a real-life house brick and is signed by the artist.
A trademarked Banksy Tombstone is advertised as a 230kg Portland stone, hand-carved by the anonymous artist himself and still “currently in the ground” with no price tag attached as yet. The “Banksy Baby Mobile” is another product coming soon. The ceiling-mounted stimulus plays on parental observation with all toys being CCTV cameras, described as offering a “lifetime of constant scrutiny both state-sanctioned and self-imposed.” Ultimately, Banksy warns of a “disappointing retail experience” for successful buyers.
The new business venture follows Banksy’s multi-million-dollar sale last week during London’s annual Frieze Week. The elusive artist smashed its presale estimate and made a record-breaking $12.2 million sale of his “Devolved Parliament” artwork in a 13-minute bidding battle on the phones and in the room.