Banksy Fakes Sold on Walmart Site, Artist Says
The street art revolution that has found its zenith right here in Los Angeles has also found its way to none other than mega-retailer Walmart.
See also: Street Art at MOCA.
Except that the canvas prints being peddled on Walmart's website as the work of graffiti king Banksy allegedly are fakes.
At least one West Coast artist told us one of his pieces was being sold as a Banksy -- without his authorization:
The Bay Area's Eddie Colla, who is a frequent headliner at L.A. street art shows, says friends pointed out to him that one of his pieces, called "Ambition," was being sold as a Banksy canvas titled "Asking for Position."
"There also might be a Mr. Brainwash piece" being peddled as a Banksy by the retailer, Colla says.
Mr. Brainwash is a street artist who made his name in L.A.; he's the subject of the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.
See also: Mr. Brainwash Bombs L.A.
The pieces, among dozens, appear to be offered by a third-party seller through Walmart's site.
Prices range from an always-low $19.79 to nearly $869. Many of the Banksys on sale are indeed images from the famous artist, but his spokeswoman told the website LAist that they were not authorized:
The Banksy canvases you showed me are counterfeit reproductions and we are currently dealing with Walmart about them.
Walmart is quoted as saying it would take down the Colla piece by midnight last night, but an hour later it was still up.
Colla told us he's seeking legal representation:
Things are just getting picked up and reproduced and the artists aren't seeing any money out of that.
... Walmart has a long history of unfair business practices and employment policies. Last month employees were organizing food drives for other employees for Thanksgiving.
If Walmart had contacted me for a licensing deal, there's not a dollar amount that exists that I would have done it for.
[Added at 11:38 p.m.]: A Walmart spokeswoman reached out to say "the art item you reference (and others) have been disabled for purchase."
Last we checked, the artwork was still on the site, but she said you couldn't actually buy them: "Because of some technical things on our side, it should be a few hours before it comes off our site completely."
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