The elusive artist known as Banksy has called on “shoplifters” to help themselves to a major UK stores’ clothes after claiming his artwork was used without permission. GUESS in London has been accused of using his work as part of a window display on Regent Street without obtaining the correct permissions. Banksy posted a picture of the display featuring his artwork, with a text box that read: “Attention all shoplifters. Please go to Guess on Regent Street. They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?”
The caption said: “Thank you for raising awareness of copyright theft! It’s no different from material theft yet people act like they’re entitled to your work somehow. A big corporation knows better, they just thought they could get away with it which makes this so much worse.”
The post got 1.4million likes and 17.9 thousand comments, most of them in support of the artist. The company had used one of the artist’s most iconic paintings of the Flower Thrower, which features a masked man throwing a bunch of flowers.
The window display showed four mannequins with clothes on in front of a the large blown up Banksy piece. The work, which shows a masked protester throwing a bunch of flowers instead of a petrol bomb or rock, was first painted by Banksy on the West Bank in Palestine, and has been repeated many times since.
Beneath the artwork, the Guess window display said: “Guess brandalised with graffiti by Banksy.
One person commented on the post: “I find it extraordinary that a major brand would use his images (even saying they are using them in the print on the window) without thinking about the copyright issues!”
Another said: “Wait? They stole your work, and then credited you in the Collab as if you’re getting paid?” Banksy made headlines this year after his most recent artwork, located in Ukraine, was unveiled in November.
The new piece, featuring a hardstanding gymnast surrounded by debris, is located in the small town of Borodyanka, north west of Kyiv.
Borodyanka is described as a “quiet, one street town” with a pre-war population of around 13,000. He has since claimed responsibility for seven works of art in Ukraine.
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The street artist appeared to have been caught on CCTV painting one of the works of art in the heavily war-torn country. Footage showing a man spraypainting what appears to be one of Banksy’s new works in the town of Irpin, Ukraine, was being shared on TikTok in November.
But questions remain about whether the man painting the work is Banksy himself and whether he knew he was being filmed by CCTV at the time he carried out the work.
In regards to the latest Regent Street saga, it is actually not the first time Banksy has aimed fury at big, corporate companies for using his art. It is reported in 2019 he did something he once said he’d never do and began selling prints of his works online.
This was in a bid to fend off those who tried to duplicate his work for their own profitable gain.
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Express.co.uk has contacted GUESS for a comment on this issue and is awaiting a response.