The Collaborative T-Shirt is NOT a Banksy Tee.
Do you still want to help us change the world?
About the tee: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. The Collaborative T-Shirt is NOT a Banksy Tee, it is a BNE Tee. We will be using a different factory to speed things up. So, the info that appeared on our site previously is no longer valid. We cannot deliver the same tee that was promised on March 22. We will ship orders out mid-May. Final edition size will be announced soon. You will not see artwork until tees are delivered and each will have a unique hologram tag for authenticity. 35K will go to charity, the rest will be used to develop products and really get this going. We’ll use your input to decide what we make next. The Collaborative T-Shirts has nothing to do with Banksy, and by purchasing one, you acknowledge and agree to that. Tees are all pre-order and made just for you, so all sales are final and there are no returns. You agree to this by purchasing from BNE. If you bought a tee previously and are not OK with these changes, you are more than welcome to a refund. Just email us: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tees are all made in USA.
I’ve been creating public art for 20 years without being paid to do so. 3 years ago, I started a charity and began to raise funds + awareness for clean water initiatives. Almost a billion people are living without access to clean water, and I wanted to do something about it. I found it incredibly difficult to get people inspired enough to hit the donate button. I didn’t enjoy asking people for money, and in the end, it didn’t work out. End of charity. However, people were excited when I would make things. So, I decided to sell products as a way to support causes. On March 22, many of you helped raise $35,000 for one of the world’s most urgent causes. You did that by simply picking up a product that you wanted to buy anyway. I call that activism through commerce. Collectively, we all worked together to help people in need get access to clean water. That’s what this was supposed to be all about, the cause.
In early March, I started a campaign called Artists 4 Water. The idea was to unite artists and art lovers to help solve the world water crisis. To set it off, I did some tees with my friend Shepard Fairey, Invader and Faile. Tees were sold and funds were donated. World Water Day was coming up and I wanted to help blow it up, so I asked Shepard to introduce me to Banksy. If Banksy blows his nose, it makes the news, so I figured that he would be perfect. I like his work and appreciate that he uses his art to support causes. I talked with Banksy and he agreed that it was a worthy cause. It was last minute and honestly he wasn’t 100% down to make a tee. We exchanged emails a couple times and I softened him up on the idea. It was time sensitive and I even titled my last mail, “Please Respond ASAP | Time Sensitive”. I thought it was a go, and hit the button before getting that last reply. I figured that he would be down, and in the worst case scenario, if he got pissed off, we would fix it up the next day and write it off as a prank that raised tons of awareness. Nobody was ever at risk of losing money and everyone was protected by PayPal.
I emailed Banksy after the launch. Before I heard back, a scumbag with a personal beef wrote an article that branded this all as a premeditated scam to defraud all of you. The pest control confirmation thing he posted was dated more that a whole day before the launch. I worked on a show with him in 2009 and the negative experience was actually part of the inspiration to do something philanthropic with BNE. The guys a true scumbag and went from using out of context, off the record comments, to straight making things up. It was more than the article though, there was spamming with fake IG accounts, harassment of an innocent t-shirt factory, he even encouraged people to contact police. This is also the same guy that has previously written horrible comments about Shepard’s health. Other blogs pretty much copy and pasted his article, none of them hit us up first, and the “scam” story started to spread. If it would’ve been branded an art prank to raise awareness or something else, people would have reacted differently. That’s the power of propaganda.
Luckily, most people in the street art world question things and not everybody bought the scam story. In fact, most of you stuck around, some of you even wrote incredibly inspirational emails, offering support and advice. Somebody in Paris mailed because he wanted to throw a party out there to raise funds for us. A mom emailed and told us that her young daughter was rocking a lemonade stand to help make sure that the 35k donation would stand. I’m sorry if you were disappointed that there was no Banksy collab, ultimately I was too. Some of my friends and acquaintances watched the countdown and waited for tees, so I know your feelings. It was a big let down. However, there was no scam. Did you really believe that I was going to run away to Brazil or something with your money? Why would I do that when I am in the process of building a company. One that makes products which are good for people and the planet + raises money for causes.
When the scam story broke, hate started flooding in. I donated the money right away and posted proof on IG to prove to all of you that it was sincere. Even if you all were to want refunds, I figured that we could make it up with more tees and other stuff that we have planned. We never had an official relationship or partnership with the charity. I just created a campaign page on their site, anyone can do it. I chose that platform because it allowed me to show people proof of donations and it allowed all of you to donate to the charity directly if you wanted to. The “scam” article was not a good look for the charity, and to respect their wishes, we will not continue to campaign for them. Please feel comfortable donating directly as they are literally one of the most trustworthy, creative and effective NPOs in the game. Part of my goal was to introduce all of you to them. At the moment, I’m not sure if the 35K donation will stand, if it’s refunded, supporters who bought tees will collectively decide where to donate. We’ll do the research, present options, and you can vote. Once donated, we will provide proof.
Please accept my deepest apologies and know that what I’m doing is sincere. I probably should have written this sooner, and things should have been communicated better, but I’m not a pro, I have no rep, I don't use PR, and have never dealt with anything like this before. Truthfully, I don't even like computers and the digital life, but I tried to answer all of your questions online personally because I thought you would appreciate it. Even though I got blazed with some hate, I actually enjoyed it. I especially liked your emails.
Anyway, we’re not going to let my mistake and one blogger with a personal beef, ruin this project and neither are most of you. I know this because you’ve told me so in your emails. Contrary to what the blogger’s article would like you to believe, artists are not turning their backs on me. I just got off the phone with Shepard a few minutes ago, people are emailing and more collabs are in the works. It’s about more than selling tees to raise funds and awareness for a great cause. It’s about building a community of people who want to change the world. I need a few hundred of you to stand up and help us get this going again. I’ll be emailing each of you who bought a tee and hope that you will stay on board. I want you to become a part of the collaborative community that I’m trying to build. With some lost trust, a mountain of work, some angry customers and the odds stacked against us, we can still do this.
I was going to bring in another artist, and then thought to use some of the ideas that you emailed us. However, there’s been a really cool change of plans that I think will make all of you happy. So, we’re going to stick with the original plan to keep the artwork a mystery until it arrives at your door. We’re using a different factory and will be able to ship by mid-May. I figured that speeding things up would make all of you more comfortable.
We will raise the 35K like we originally planned, and the rest will go to our next projects. Basically what I want to do is make a line of products that allows all of you to support causes regularly, simply by picking up things that you need to buy anyway. I’m talking tees, organic soap, shampoo, toothpaste and sustainable essentials. It might sound weird for an artist to launch a company and sell these things, but here’s the logic: Everyday millions of people hand their money over to companies that don’t really care about us, in exchange for products that are destroying our health and the planet. I believe that thinking before you buy is a revolutionary act that can change the world. It was really cool to buy that tee and have a big piece of what you spent go to the cause right? Imagine every time you gave $50 to a company, they donated $10 to one of the world’s greatest charities. That’s the kind of company that I’m trying to build, the peoples brand. If you want something like this to exist, now is the time to let me know, because honestly, I’m getting tired. I never wanted to make a company or sell product, other than product design, I do not even enjoy this type of work. It’s a sacrifice that I’m making to achieve my artistic vision of uniting people to do good.
I’m not a great writer and I’m no communications expert, but I hope I got my point across, and you all understand what I’m trying to do. Please accept my deepest apologies for the Banksy let down, and let’s work together to make this messed up world a better place. I will add a blog to this site and keep you updated. If you ordered Shepard, Invader or Faile tees, they will be shipped in 2 weeks. The Collaborative T-shirt is NOT a Banksy Tee. If you would like a refund, no problem, just email us: email@example.com
Please don’t forget what this was all for. Everyday about 5000 children die of totally preventable water-related diseases. 90% of these deaths are children under 5-years-old. This doesn’t have to happen.