Monday, 7 April 2008

Banksy graffiti, Apple suing New York and Google - trademarking is high on todays agenda!

On leaving Belsize Park tube last week I noticed some new graffiti on an adjacent wall. It is in the style of Banksy and I decided to photograph it:

New Banksy Belsize Park?

As I was taking the picture I was stopped by an old man who asked if I thought it was 'a real Banksy'. Whilst it is in an area that Banksy has used before (something else was painted on the same wall last year and it is close to the famous 'Maid in Camden') there is no real way of knowing whether this was painted by Banksy or a Banksy imitator. Regardless of this, it shows the extent to which Banksy's work is now universally known - there is even a Banksy gallery in Second Life!

I am fascinated by the way that essentially 'illegal street art' has become so prominent in mainstream culture and it was therefore no surprise to read in Marketing Week that Banksy is trademarking his tag across a whole range of products from wallpaper and paint to toys and jewellery.

If a graffiti artist can trademark his work then it is not surprising that trademarking has become so prominent. On the one hand the open source / Creative Commons advocates encourage collaboration and sharing whilst on the other hand legal suits, such as Apple Inc suing the Big Apple(!), seem to be becoming more common. These things are all resulting in trademarking moving up the marketing agenda and Google's recent UK trademarking announcements will further increase the importance of trademarking in marketing strategy.

Difficult to predict where all of this will end though? In the future will everyone have to trademark everything????

Related posts
Banksy 'Lambeth Palace' underground cinema for 'Exit Through The Gift Shop' screenings
Biggest Banksy yet - Newman Street Post Office Depot
Banksy Second Life Virtual Gallery
Banksy New Orleans Katrina anniversary graffiti
Banksy New Orleans stolen!


Cedric said...

Stencils do not imply necessary Banksy behind the spray can... This one for instance is probably not from the bespoke artist. Many others are using this technique, in London and across the world. I think of Miss Tic, El chivo, Jeff Aerosol, Nick Walker or Faile to name only a few. But it seems indeed that Banksy is breaking the paradigm and being forced to step out of underground, to head into limelight. More stencil work here:

Nick Burcher said...

Since posting this I have seen in the local press that this is not a Banksy :Camden New Journal confirm Belsize Park man / dog is not a Banksy

It is not the first time that a 'non-Banksy' has been painted in Belsize Park. Another image was painted last year, described in the Ham & High local paper as a Banksy, but turned out to be an impersonator. I posted the image in question on Flickr and had someone called Bleeding Edge correct me and post a lengthy 'how to spot a Banksy' explanation underneath - Banksy Impersonator on Flickr

I agree with you that Banksy has changed the way that graffiti artists are expressing themselves and I think it is interesting how the viral hype around Banksy's work has grown - the internet (specifically sites like Flickr) are obviously helping the spread of graffiti art and bringing it to a wider audience.

We now have people willing to pay thousands for an original Banksy and lots of other copycat artists - even though the act of performing graffiti is still ostensibly illegal. At some point I guess local councils will be put in a difficult position (how can you justify maintaining / celebrating some graffiti, whilst prosecuting others?), but in the mean time it will be interesting to see where this goes.

Unknown said...

We've long been inspired by urban art and have finally created a collection that pays homage to this secret addiction of ours!