This week Wal-Mart made its way to (or further down) the shit lists of well-known street artists, Banksy, Thierry Guetta, and Eddie Colla, when it released a line of knockoff, unlicensed, and even misattributed prints through its online Wal-Mart Marketplace.
The prints that unleashed some serious public outcry included: Banksy's Destroy Capitalism, Thierry Guetta's Life is Beautiful, which was mislabeled at a Banksy piece, and Eddie Colla's Ambition, also credited to Banksy.
While many the layers of irony in the situation had some simply shaking their heads, maybe letting out an incredulous laugh or two, California-based artist Eddie Colla was not amused.
Unlike Banksy, who does not have copyright over his work, making it apparently free game, Eddie Colla's work was straight up stolen.
Although Wal-Mart has since removed the prints from its site following the widespread backlash, Colla is not letting the act of ignorant art-jacking stand.
Before Wal-Mart even got around to removing the ripped-off products, Colla had already launched a line of limited edition prints entitled "It's Only Stealing If You Get Caught."
The prints, which featured a readaptation of the original work stolen by Wal-Mart, sold out immediately, with the proceeds funding Colla's impending legal action against the company.
On his 1xRun page, Colla had this to say about Wal-Mart's actions:
"...I made a piece about individuals controlling their own fate and not making their success contingent on the approval of others. It then gets adopted by a neo-feudal corporation like Walmart. A corporation whose employment practices have created a 2 million person underclass in this country. That's where this becomes an issue of conviction. Walmart waves American Flags, kowtows to a hypocritical right wing Christian ideology but that's merely a marketing strategy. If Walmart actually believed in any part of that ridiculous rhetoric they would certainly never put work by an artist like me in their stores."
Wal-Mart may want to rethink its motto, "save more, live better."
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