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Being Funny Could Get You An Original Banksy At New Online Store

Controversial artist Banksy has just opened his online store, but as usual, there's a catch.

Banksy, whoever he is, has always pushed the boundaries in the art industry. From his random artworks that appear all of a sudden in unexpected spots, to his stunts to mock wealthy art collectors (just last year, he sold a piece for thousands of dollars only for it to shred itself minutes later), he’s always looking for ways to break the rules and challenge the industry. This time, he’s doing it by opening his own online store, but, being Banksy, there’s a catch, of course.

The website openly claims to be a place "...where art irritates life."  ‘Gross Domestic Product,’ the same name he used for his temporary display shop in Croydon, South London, some weeks ago, claims to be a store that “sells art, homewares, and disappointment.” So, be prepared to find everything but a regular store. 

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The idea actually came to be after a legal dispute in which the name Banksy was about to lose its trademark rights and pass to a greeting card company. Why? Well, apparently, as arts layer Mark Stephens explains, the only way to save it is by producing his own range of merchandise. If the name is not used, the trademark can be removed and transferred to someone else.

Now, you might be wondering where’s the catch. Well, the moment you enter the website you’ll get a glimpse of a disclaimer explaining what’s all about. Down below, there's a button to enter the store. You’ll be able to see the products available, which go from the famous bullet-proof vest worn by rapper Stormzy at Glastonbury and other artworks (with a listing price of £850), to literal merch like t-shirts, mugs, and cushions starting at £10. 

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So, once you’ve found something you like (you can only pick one thing) you’ll be asked to proceed to checkout as any online shop would. However, even before being able to type your information, the website warns the user that this will be a really disappointing retail experience, once again mocking the entire system we live in today. 

And that's not all, here comes the biggest catch: in order to register, you have to prove that you’re not a robot. To do so, you have to answer in 50 words or less,why does art matter?”  Yes, that’s the trick. Your answers will be read and judged by the stand-up comedian Adam Bloom, so you better think of a clever and witty response to be considered as a potential buyer. As the website claims, “we can’t ever weed out all the people who just want to flip for profit, but we can weed out the unfunny ones.”

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Now you know how it works, so start thinking about your answer, since you’ll have until October 28 to submit your registration and, hey, even if you manage to get your hands on the cheapest item, you’ll be the proud proprietor of an original Banksy, in what is perhaps his biggest stunt so far. 

Here's the link to 'Gross Domestic Product.'

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Images from @banksy

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