The Unauthorised Banksy Exhibit and the Theft of Second Life Photography.

Another blog post you say?? I KNOW RIGHT??!?!?! Just enjoy the extra posting and don’t question it in case you scare me off and you don’t see me again for months! Sooooo…I was trawling through my facebook feed one day and came across this link to an unauthorised exhibit of the Art of Banksy.

It made me feel uneasy for a few reasons. Let me explain…

Firstly, Street art, and especially the art of Banksy is a reaction to this very thing. Street art is art of the people for the people and is meant to be experienced on the street, free of charge by ANYONE, not just the elite that can afford it, and these prices are ridiculous for an UNAUTHORISED exhibit put together by private collectors and curated by Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s FORMER manager and photographer. So the artist themselves is not profiting off this exhibit, the collectors, the curators and the gallery are.

The prices themselves are quite prohibitive for the average person, let alone if you plan on taking a family. The profit margin on these tickets must be quite large despite the fact that they are putting on such a large exhibit.

Ticket Prices for Exhibit

From $32 general access Monday to Thursday
From $36 Priority access Monday to Thursday
From $32 general access Friday to Sunday
From $42 Priority access Friday to Sunday


I know that people will say that at least it is a promotion of the artist and it allows people who wouldn’t normally get to see them, experience them and it legitimises the artist and the art form…but you know what? It is being promoted not for the artist, but for profit. It does allow people who wouldn’t normally see art like this to experience it…but only the people who can AFFORD it, not the people it was MEANT for. And lastly, it was already a legitimate art form and Banksy was already a legitimate artist. It all kind of smacks of elitism and underhandedness.

Next, Street Art is not meant to be viewed like this. It is meant to be viewed in situ. Street art has a context and it finds layers of meaning in its context. The mural on the West Bank Barrier separating Palestine from Israel has important meaning in the place it is situated. It is a direct reaction to the current social and political climate and unrest that is happening around it. If you took that mural and hung it in a gallery, it loses some of its meaning and importance. You take it away from the people and the context, you reduce it to something sterile and…less.

Brisbane Street Art Photo1
An original Lister Wall I found in the Valley in Brisbane. The photo is only the memory. Seeing it in its original context is everything. Knowing also, that one day it may go due to development or renovations is also part of what makes this important and special. 

The more I think about it, the more offended I am. While I would dearly LOVE to see an authentic Banksy, I would like to see them how they are meant to be seen, free and out on the streets because that is part of the experience of them.

Lastly, this kind of artistic rip off really upsets me. We see it happening in Second Life all the time. I can’t even count the amount of times I read a plurk saying, “Hey! Check out this link…this person has used my photo in their ad/in their blog post/as a stock photo and not even credited me.” I go by the principle, ALWAYS ASK. Most people are seriously generous and will say yes, for something as simple as a link to their blog or to the original photo.

Just like street art, most Second Life Photography has meaning in context. Each photo taken is taken for a reason. Whether it is a documentary type photograph holding memories of a person’s time in world…
Mondrian, Al and I at Rainbow Painters Art Gallery

or a bloggers photograph meant to market items by creators in world… The New Subscription Box  in Town
that photograph has MEANING. Words will change that meaning. Context will change that meaning.

If you profit from someone else’s art work, even if that profit is just by free use of their creative/intellectual property without their permission, you are a thief. You have STOLEN their intellectual property and STOLEN their time and thoughts and effort. Just because the original online world photographer or artist is not known to you or because they are an avatar, is not enough of a reason to justify your thievery.

So that is my thoughts for today. What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever had your Second Life photos used out of context by someone who didn’t ask your permission? What did you do about that? Comment down below and let me know…I would really like to hear what you all think about it and about your experiences!

2 Comments on “The Unauthorised Banksy Exhibit and the Theft of Second Life Photography.

  1. All my pictures are published under “Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike” license. I was a little astonished when I found one of them on Marketplace as advertising for the bathing suit I wore. (No name mentioned, not asked for my permission)
    I did nothing, because the bikini is only 10 Lindens, and the creator will not really get rich with it.
    On the other hand, I really would have been pleased if she had asked me before publishing my picture – and I gladly would have given my permission …


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