Graffiti artist, Banksy, is basically encouraging his followers to shoplift the GUESS on Regent Street after they used his artwork without permission KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Graffiti artist, Banksy, is basically encouraging his followers to shoplift the GUESS on Regent Street after they used his artwork without permission

Renowned graffiti artist Banksy unveiled a work in the Ukrainian town of Borodyanka, which had been occupied by Russia until April and heavily damaged by fighting in the early days of Moscow's invasion of its neighbour.


Banksy posted a photo of the mural - a girl gymnast performing a handstand on a small pile of concrete rubble - on Instagram late on Friday. The work was painted onto the wall of a building destroyed by shelling.

At least one other piece of new graffiti in Banksy's signature style, although not posted by the mercurial artist on social media, was spotted in Borodyanka, portraying a man being flipped in judo by a much smaller child.

The symbolism of that piece was unmistakeable: an allusion to the biblical story of David and Goliath, the unlikely triumph of the underdog, as well as a nod to Russian President Vladimir Putin's much-publicised love of the Japanese martial art.

Several curious onlookers came to see the artwork, some of whom had made the 60 km drive from Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv.

"This is such a historic moment for our country, that people like Banksy and other famous figures are coming here and showing the world what Russia has done to us," said one of the visiting Kyivans, 31-year-old Alina Mazur.

He wrote on Instagram: "They've helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?"

The shop featured Banksy's Flower Thrower graffiti plus clothes bearing his images. Guess has not commented.

The US clothing brand has advertised a new collection "with graffiti by Banksy".

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The company said the collection was created in collaboration with Brandalised, which licenses designs by graffiti artists.

After the artist posted his message encouraging shoplifting, a criminal offence, Guess closed the store to the public, placed security outside and covered up the window display. Staff in the shop declined to speak to the BBC.

Speaking last month about the collection, Guess chief creative officer Paul Marciano said: "The graffiti of Banksy has had a phenomenal influence that resonates throughout popular culture.

"This new capsule collection with Brandalised is a way for fashion to show its gratitude."

Copyright lawyer Liz Ward, founder of Virtuoso Legal, said Guess "appear to have legitimately sourced the Banksy artwork via a third party, namely Brandalised, who say they have rights to commercialise and use Banksy's artwork on goods".

She said: "It isn't known if Banksy approved or even knew about this deal. If he did know about it, then perhaps his comments are there to create some kind of guerrilla marketing campaign. If he didn't know about it, then he must be quite annoyed, especially as such mainstream companies and brands don't accord with his anti-establishment views.

"The short point is that Banksy should be pursing Brandalised and or Guess for infringement of his work. However, given she/he wants to remain anonymous, that may well be impossible."

Copyright infringement is "extremely serious and can cause long term commercial damage", but is normally a civil offence, she added - whereas shoplifting is a criminal offence.

"Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, it isn't right to encourage shoplifting per se."

Banksy's representatives declined to comment further, while Brandalised has also not commented.

Earlier this week, Banksy won an appeal to allow him to keep the trademark of one of his most famous images, a monkey wearing a sandwich board, at the EU Intellectual Property Office.

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