Home / News / World /  Guess helped themselves to my artwork: Banksy urges fans to do this from London store

Globally famous graffiti artist Banksy has accused fashion retailer Guess of allegedly stealing their artwork and using it for promotion without due credit and legal license. The artist took to social media platform Instagram to inform about the same. 

Banksy also urged shoplifters to pay the London outlet a visit. The picture posted by Banksy is of the Guess outlet on Regent Street, London. The picture was captioned, "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?"

Banksy's post addressing their 11.6 million followers attracted widespread attention. Banksy is known for their anti-authoritarian art, often done in public places.

The store window display of Guess' Regent Street outlet features Banksy's most famous artwork, The Flower Thrower, Flower Bomber, Rage, or Love is in the Air. It shows a masked man about to throw a bouquet of flowers in a pose strikingly similar to that of pelting stones or throwing grenade. It is a 2003 stencil mural in Beit Sahour in the West Bank.

The a press release by the fashion retailer Guess says the brand partnership was created "with Brandalised, an urban graffiti license whose mission is to offer Banksy fans affordable graffiti collectibles."

It’s unclear whether Guess has licensed the rights to use the artist’s image in its clothing line. The website of Guess has no mention of Brandalised or Banksy.

A Guess x Brandalised press release, issued by Belgium marketing agency MMBSY that represents it works for Guess, shows a Fall/Winter 2022 capsule collection featuring casual apparel “inspired by Banksy’s Graffiti.", according to a report by Bloomberg.

The report by Bloomberg further noted that the Brandalised website claims to be a licensor of “the world’s most famous graffiti' and shows a quote attributed to Banksy alongside his artwork but does not specifically say the company has a license to use the artist's images. The collection can be found on retailer websites like Urban Outfitters which is selling a “Guess Originals x Brandalised Banksy Crew Neck Sweatshirt" for $109.

There had been a controversy regarding the intellectual property ownership and right of Banksy and their graffiti owing to the hidden identity of the artist. Initially, the European Union Intellectual Property Office ruled that his anonymity prevented his ability to trademark various images.

However, on 16 November, a European Union board of appeals overruled that decision, according to ArtNews, which means that Banksy now has the ability to seek intellectual property protection for images like “Flower Thrower."

Last week 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.

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