Police bust factory forging Banksy artworks

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/03/11/police-bust-forged-banksy-factory.html


I can’t help but think of “Exit Through the Giftshop.”


Given that nobody knows who Banksy is, how do we know these aren’t authentic? It would be just like Banksy to do something this meta.


There is a delicious irony in the police working to protect Banksy’s intellectual property given how long he’s been evading various police agencies to create his artwork.


He can hardly complain, as he goes to great lengths to hide his identity. Don’t you have to claim that you created something in order to claim any kind of copyright protection?


In this case it’s not just about protecting the artist, it’s about protecting the buyers. This is a clear case of fraud even if the defrauded parties were naive.


he has a “pest control” website to authenticate stuff.



200w (18)


Banksy did, of couse, once sell original works for much less, about a decade ago: Banksy sells original works worth a fortune for £38 each in New York booth | Banksy | The Guardian

I used to own a print he’d done in the late 90s, maybe early 2000s. I sold it six years ago, and it helped us towards buying a house. One of my favourite things about it was getting the thing authenticated through Pest Control. They’re a really neat outfit.


Banksy’s work is all about the concept. The method for creating physical artwork in his style is simple and fairly easy to replicate. He gave instructions in one of his early books. From that angle I’m not clear how Banksy or his Pest Control office could authenticate his work except at the point of creation. I supppose there might be subtle differences of details in a copy of an original Banksy.

Pest Control was established to thwart cheapo mass copying or pseudo-Banksy creation on eBay and so on, rather than to act as a Fine Art Market arbitor.

I’ve had the joy of seeing several Banksies in the flesh. The one he did in Soho, London – the Mona Lisa with missile – which was painted over by the local council. I expect they regretted it bitterly when he became famous.

The one at Reading Gaol. It was a fine Sunday afternoon to visit there during the Covid crisis, when the public gathering restrictions had been loosened. A lot of people had gone to see it. A real moment of connnection with other people you probably would never meet in normal times.

I think that that communal art experience is the true value of Banksy, rather than some high-falutin’ collector’s marketplace.


“They created the works with spraypaint and stencils on cardboard.”

Nice to see that the forgers made the effort to source authentic, period appropriate materials.


Yeah, he set up a gift shop in Croydon a ew years back now, it was definitely a lot busier than normal around there for a few days.

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We can take he fact that they’ve been found out as evidence they’re not Banksy.


If it was painted over, could it be restored?

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This is how it was:

I used to work in Waverley House, the other side of the street

The piece got painted over pretty soon after it appeared but not before I got a few pics of it. (The pic above isn’t mine.)

The area is controlled by Westminster Council, which tends to be right wing and disapprove of this kind of unauthorised street art. The colour art of the guy with a book is approved, and it’s still there.

I’m not sure Banksy would restore the graffiti if he was asked to. Even though he seems to have used the same stencils in some other locations.


FTFY. How do we know that’s really Banksy’s site?

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