STORMZY’S famous Union Jack stab-proof vest is up for sale at a new pop-up shop opened by secretive artist Banksy.
The vest worn by the Vossi Bop rapper at Glastonbury this summer – designed for him especially by Banksy – has now appeared in the window of the shop in London.
Stormzy took to Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage wearing a stab vest emblazoned with the Union Jack[/caption]
The grime star caused a stir at the festival this year when he donned the vest and shouted ‘F**k Boris’.
The Croydon-born artist, 25, became the first black British solo artist to top the bill at the festival since it began in 1970.
Stormzy, a vocal fan of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – backing his “Grime4Corbyn” campaign – took a swipe at Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson during his explosive set.
Performing his recent hit Vossi Bop, Stormzy rapped: “I could never die, I’m Chuck Norris.”
The crowd completed the lyrics, chanting: “F*** the government and f*** Boris.”
Now, legendary graffiti artist Bansky says he has been forced to open the homeware store following a legal dispute involving a greeting cards company.
The new store, called Gross Domestic Product, will span the windows of a former south London carpet shop and sell a range of “impractical and offensive” merchandise created by the artist.
In a statement, Banksy said the motivation behind the venture, on Church Street in Croydon, is “possibly the least poetic reason to ever make some art”.
A greetings cards company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art, and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally. I think they’re banking on the idea I won’t show up in court to defend myself.
He said: “A greetings cards company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art, and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally.
“I think they’re banking on the idea I won’t show up in court to defend myself.”
Items being sold in the shop include the Union Jack vest and a model of Frosties cereal character Tony the Tiger, re-imagined as a rug.
Welcome mats made from life vests salvaged from the shores of the Mediterranean, which have been hand-stitched by women in detainment camps in Greece, are also on display.
Mark Stephens, an arts lawyer and founder of the Design and Artists Copyright Society, is advising Banksy on what he describes as “frankly ludicrous litigation”.
Banksy is in a difficult position because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear – if the trademark holder is not using the mark, then it can be transferred to someone who will.
Lawyer Mark Stephens
He said: “Banksy is in a difficult position because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear – if the trademark holder is not using the mark, then it can be transferred to someone who will.”
As a solution to the issue, Mr Stephens proposed that Bansky began his own range of merchandise and opened a shop.
Mr Stephens said the card company, who he refused to name, initiated the legal proceedings about 12 months ago.
Although people will be able to visit the store for the next two weeks, its doors will never open and the lights will remain on 24 hours a day.
Four security guards, dressed in brown trench coats, were stood outside the store.
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They said that they did not know who they were working for or how long the job would last.
Oliver Lewis, Croydon council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “It’s really exciting, there’s a lot of people out here generating a lot of interest.
“It just popped up overnight. That’s one of the great things about street art, it’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
Stormzy was congratulated on his appearance by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn[/caption]
He has been outspoken on the issue of inequality since coming to prominence in 2014[/caption]
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