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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How much is that Banksy in the window?

Photo by Lea Lion

By Lea Lion

Housed in the mini-mall at  Sunset Boulevard and Laveta Terrace, the Royal Liquor Jr Market does not exactly exude art world savvy. Sure, the convenience store’s façade is covered in graffiti (including a couple of tags by high-profile street artists) but, it’s still more a spot to score a six pack than a silkscreen – that is, until recently. A few weeks ago, some t-shirts appeared alongside the sun-bleached products on display in the store’s front window. Dangling crookedly from hangars, the t-shirts depict two gun-toting soldiers in fatigues surreptitiously painting a bright red peace sign on a wall. Beneath the image, block letters spell out the famed British street artist’s tag: Banksy, whose work is part of MOCA’s graffitti blowout, “Art in the Streets.” In the art world, big shows can lead to big bucks as Banksy’s documentary “Exit through the Gift Shop” pointed out. Now, it seems even the corner store is getting in on the game.

The “Banksy” t-shirts come in black and white and a range of sizes. On the inside of the shirt, a silkscreen reads the street artist’s name again along with “Made in USA” and washing instructions. At $14.99 a pop, they seem like a souvenir for Echo Park tourists.

Regardless, all things “Banksy” are shrouded in mystery. From behind a wall of bullet-proof glass, a store employee said that the shirts came from “a man who came in one time”. When asked if the shirts were selling, he said no, then changed his mind, and said that people come in to buy two or three at a time. Then he said he was too busy to answer questions.

The employee’s reluctance to discuss the shirts may have been for good reason. Banksy’s official website reads, “You’re welcome to download whatever you wish from this site for personal use. However, making your own art or merchandise and passing it off as ‘official’ or authentic Banksy artwork is bad and very wrong.”

For now, just file this one under: Exit through the liquor store.



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7 comments

  1. I’m guessing fake. The only time I ever saw Banksy shirts out here was when they were on sale at his solo show in 2002 at the 33 1/3 art gallery. Back when they were on Hyperion. 10 bucks got you an image of a cop angel with the words City of Angels and a spray can on the sleeve. Puma put it out. Found this intersting article on the shirt, Ha oh man I would have picked up more than one if knew they were going to be hard to find.

    http://banksyforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=urbanart&action=print&thread=75202

  2. Hi, are you willing to sell your city of angels t-shirt? If so, would you mind writing to my e-mail address that I will mention here? I’m interested. Take care.

  3. I would sell it, if it was in better condition. Its kind of faded now with all the washing its been through. I keep it around just as a memento.

  4. Sorry, that’s a fake.
    Banksy rarely uses his logotype on merchandise and when he does it’s not that one.
    And available for $14.99 at a corner liquor store?
    The man may be a capitalist but he ain’t no fool.

  5. Only in echo Park would someone make a big deal out of a t-shirt!

  6. “At $14.99 a pop, they seem like a souvenir for Echo Park tourists.”

    seriously, tourists in EP? Maybe if they got lost leaving Hollywood & Highland.

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