Sunday, August 9, 2015

Copykat(e)


Last week we stumbled upon an ebay listing from “imusthaveitkate” that we thought of great interest:

Item Id:
291521950042
End time:
Aug-02-15 06:04:38 PDT
Seller information
100% Positive feedback

Item specifics
Seller Notes:
“In Superb Unmounted Condition, Colours are Bright and Sharp, has West Country Prince stamp and Banksy Copy Stamp Limited Edition of just 50 examples in Red/Yellow Colours, very slight indent bottom right but outside of mounting area so would not be seen when mounted, very tiny corner crease, again will be unseen if mounted, main image is perfect and sharp. I have receipt and can prove this is 100% with online history provenance, so please bid with confidence.”
Self-Representing Artist?:
No
Type:
Modern - Limited Edition
Original/ Repro:
Unknown
Subject:
Kate Moss
Signed?:
Unsigned
Style:
Pop Art

Hello,
I have for auction a very nice piece by Banksy of Kate Moss in the style of Warhols' Monroe, in Red/Yellow colours, limited edition of just 50 examples, stamped to the rear with the West Country Prince and Banksycopy stamps, size is approx. 70x70cm, colours are superb, nice and bright/sharp, has a small indent bottom right, which is in the mount boarder, so would not be seen when mounted up, and the top left corner has a very small crease, again not noticed if mounted up, I have shown these in the photos, as you can see they are very  very minimal, but wanted to mention it.
I have receipt of purchase, I can prove this is 100% authentic with online history/provenance etc so please bid with confidence.
A wonderful example of a Banksy, an artist who's works are very sought after.
Any questions about this piece please ask, happy for inspections and collections, more than happy to post worldwide to ebay registered addresses only, tracked where requested/paid.
Happy bidding.
KS

Included with the ad were 11 additional images of the print:

The piece had a starting bid of £0.99 (roughly US$1.54) which caught us off guard as you may recall from our ‘Pushing the boundaries andseeing what happens’ post of late-January, 2015 that a similar Banksy piece was being offered for 'only' $145,000. That is a pretty steep discount for a “100% authentic” and “wonderful example of a Banksy, an artist who's works are very sought after.”

So, we did a little bit of research on the web and found some interesting facts: BANKSYCOPY prints 'are the exact dimensions and colours as the originals, as they have been scanned from the original prints. They are stamped "BANKSYCOPY" on the reverse to prevent being sold on the market as originals. The only difference between these and the originals is that they are not signed or numbered by Banksy but come with their own numbering system and stamp.'

We also stumbled upon an interesting dialogue on a Banksy forum taking place on the Urban Art Association regarding the reproduction of such 'high quality' Banksy copies, which began with the following statement from ‘sundowner’, and includes some responses (with typos and misspells included) we have selected from just the first page of the, count them, 32 pages of responses:

Sundowner: … Banksy's images have been reproduced countless times the world over, but this is surely going a step too far in terms of reproducing the original print editions? The (ebay) listing states they are reproductions and go so far as to have a "Banksy Copy" stamp on them, but personally I think this is overstepping the mark and I am sure POW (iskm: 'Pictures on Walls', Banksy’s official outlet for the sale of his prints) will have an issue with this. Does this not violate ... copyright ... even though it says they are reproductions? …

curiosgeorge:  If they do then so does every other repro Banksy on ebay... Copyright and Banksy :) ... I wonder if a lot of forum members reading this are thinking should i be going mad at this? or buy some images i like just for the image alone rather than price tags?

craigf: Hmmm, I would expect they do violate copyright and being such clear copies doesn't sit well with me. To easy for one be sold already framed with the implication its the real deal
:(

trevorm: Too true. 'Somebody' should stop this. There's an obvious implication of a fraud in the making

shaky1181: I'd love to see banksy take someone to court...

rolex: Don't think he'l turn up some how. This is why people get away with doing stuff like this.

mmmike: I like it. I hope someone does a high end (but cheap) canvas version. I bet Banksy doesn't care.

brushstrokes75: … Ebay won't remove anything if Banksy (or his representation) don't ask them too ... Sometimes you like an image, don't want or don't have thousands to spend on it. Here you can get a quality copy … I actually like the fact it stamped copy on the back with their own blindstamp which makes it more legal in their illegality … I don't see what the problem is. As I recall, most people here keep saying that it's only about the image. So, why pay £2K for a print if you can buy the same quality image for £30 lol

chaserwr: … I want it.... Is it really the same quality as the original? I guess the screenprint isnt that difficult.

mojjac: You could have the whole Banksy portfolio for less than the cost of one unisgned print.

freeview: This is damaging and could really devalue ligit prints
:(

mojjac: I would have thought that if you loved the art for the message that it conveyed then its material value would not matter?

Guest: How could this devalue legit prints? Stuff like this has been on eBay for years. Most people now ask for a COA (iskm: Certificate of Authenticity) before they buy and you aren't going to get one of those for these. I don't see the issue, it’s all about if you want the image on your wall or the signature for bragging rights.

Time for iskm to jump back in … given that a COA is actually referenced for this copy as well, so we wondered, if you have a certificate specifying that the providence of the piece is a copy, does it make the piece authentic? We felt it best to inquire from the ebay seller and make sure they were aware it was a copy:

Dear imusthaveitkate,
Just want to clarify, this is not an authentic banksy print, right? ...
- iskm

We also directed them towards the additional information regarding the prints, in case they needed to reference what we found. A swift response was received from imusthaveitkate:

Dear iskm,
Thank you for the information, I was aware of this, hence the photo showing the Banksycopy stamp. Many thanks for your time.
Regards
KS
- imusthaveitkate

Ah, but the point we were making was not what the seller knows but what someone looking, reading and trying to understand providence would think. Of course, is art passing itself off as the same art forgery? What about if in the act of creation it acknowledges that it is a copy?
Is such a copy, particularly in reference to pop-art a reproduction or actually a new piece of art unto itself? Is a copy of a copy of a copy art?
From Gene Korman's Marilyn photograph, to Warhol to Banksy, to the ebay listing
What if you can justifiably prove it is a copy by having authentication that it is a copy!?! What did imusthaveitkate think about this, we wondered?

Dear imusthaveitkate,
Thanks.
We wanted to check as you do specify that it is "Unknown" whether it is an "Original" or "Repro". Also, found the following statement in your listing confusing yet interesting: "I have receipt of purchase, I can prove this is 100% authentic with online history/provenance etc so please bid with confidence."
Just wondering that if it is a copy, how is it authentic? An authentic copy is still a copy is it not?
- iskm

 
Unfortunately, no response was received.
Looking at banksy’s own site, www.banksy.co.uk, it is written: "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."

We turned back to the forum and kept on reading:
hubblebubble: I guess the question is - does the seller seek to trick the purchaser by passing off the piece as "'official' or authentic Banksy artwork"? The seller is obviously hoping to profit from confusion ... I'm not a fan of this kind of behaviour, but I think it's pretty clear these works are not by our mysterious friend Mr B. Just sayin' :)

mattgold: I understand the ill feeling people have for this (copies)... and it doesn't sit completely well with me. But I have to admit, if I had the opportunity to get a Hirst ‘Valium’ reproduction printed in high quality for similar (even a bit more) I'd jump on it. Call it hypocritical... and you'd be right.

johnnyh: it will not effect the value of the orig prints etc. Never has. You can always buy a copy of anything but it does not effect the originals price whether that be a handbag, watch or a piece of art. Warhol is a perfect example of this with the Sunday B issues versus the originals. Massive price difference and they claim done on the same press … For those who cannot afford an original and there is nothing wrong with that. You can have one on your wall.
So I do not have a problem with the prints I do however have a problem that they are unlicensed as this is just someone making a quick buck off someone else's talent. Which in my humble opinion is wrong.
Banksy currently decides with POW what his issues sizes are signed or unsigned etc and that is his right. If he wants a zillion copies of that in IKEA etc he can do it but he decides not to and in my view that should be respected … Art is more than pictures. Collecting art is more than collecting images. Not saying it should be restricted and its not.
Look up any Banksy or any other artist’s image on the net and you can see it. This however is a copy of someone else's work …

Oh, by the way there were 7 bids on the kate moss banksycopy and the winning bid: was £42.00 (approx. US$65.59 + shipping). iskm kind of wishes we bought it, just so we could chop it up and make some art out of its pieces!

Oh wait, why do we need to buy it to do this … 
Is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy art?

Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

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