California artist Eddie Colla, who has been up in the streets of L.A. for a decade, recently had one of his images “appropriated” by WalMart and sold as a “Banksy” to unsuspecting customers of the world-destroying mega-chain. To retaliate, the artist has created a print celebrating the cognitive dissonance created by Wal Mart’s use of his image. He explains more in this interview with 1XRUN. Full details on the print to follow…
1xRun: It’s been a few years since you create this image and slogan – did you ever think it would be hijacked by Walmart and labeled a BANKSY?
Eddie Colla: That’s the irony, isn’t it? 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.
First off, I’m a vandal, (although I prefer the term “graphic criminal”) and the piece they are selling encourages that kind of behavior wholeheartedly. Politically, I am anti-military, anti-gun, pro-choice, pro same-sex marriage, pro immigration reform. I could go on. So why would they sell work by someone who stands in opposition to their most strongly held values? The answer is simple, it’s all bullshit, a facade to appeal to a gullible consumer base. My favorite example of their hypocrisy is a Sheryl Crow CD that Walmart banned in their stores. The CD was banned not because of explicit language because of lyrics that made reference to Walmart’s sale of guns. The CDs were taken off shelves, the guns stayed. In the eyes of Walmart, the criticism was dangerous not the assault rifles they sell. In a corporate landscape void of ethics, values and steered by greed Walmart is right up there with the biggest douche bags in the game. Pick any problem our country faces. At some point it will intersect with Walmart. Whether it’s gun violence, a widening economic gap, environmental issues, outsourcing manufacturing, lack of health care access etc. Walmart is right there on the wrong side of history. As far as the Banksy thing, that’s just ignorance. It’s common when a group of people try to cash in on something they know little or nothing about. All they see is an opportunity to exploit something and make some money. They see a stencil and call it a Banksy. I’ve seen Dolk, Blek le Rat, Above and a bunch of other artists pieces labeled as Banksy’s.
The print is available for a limited time from 1XRUN.