Trevor Andrew, 2022
Acquired at Particle's LA Event
Banksy's a Ghost
Signed on reverse
Spray paint, house paint, and acrylic on vintage fabric
48 by 48 in. 122 by 122 cm.
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the artist.
Picasso once famously expressed, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” Multidisciplinary Artist and former Olympic snowboarder, Trevor Andrew did just that - “stole”, the interlocking G’s of the 1930s Gucci logo and painted them on just about everything on the street, describing it as his “mantra to keep doing it until the brand either sued me or hired me.” Through determination and manifestation, the latter came to fruition after Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele took notice of his appropriation, calling it “genius”, later inviting Andrew to co-design the Gucci collection for fall 2016. The collaboration saw the production of accessories like silver skull rings and graffiti-covered Marmont handbags to a mix of clothes such as prim pleated skirts with dripping paint to bomber jackets. The word “real” was now tagged on bags, baseball shirts and jackets - and real it was … in Gucci’s runway shows and flagship stores. Guess Picasso was right.
A symbol can be so much more powerful than words, unrestricted by language and appealing to our senses on many levels. - Trevor Andrew
Artists and luxury brands have a long history of collaborating together, but Andrew took it to further heights by infiltrating his craft into the brand through the re-purposing of Gucci’s symbol ahead of a contract of any sort. The luxury lifestyle and brand identity that Gucci represented now incorporated the very opposite of what it always embodied through the introduction of raw, relatable street culture and graffiti. The desire for symbols and unattainable luxury personified by brands have been reframed by bootleg fashion culture, through the act of repositioning a dominant narrative into an artistic language that has come to embody its own cultural history, language and identity.
Alessandro Michele and Trevor Andrew at a Gucci Store © Courtesy of Gucci
Gucci Store showing Trevor Andrew Collaboration for Gucci Fall of 2016 ©Courtesy of Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Gucci
Gucci Runway, Fall 2016 GucciGhost x Gucci Collection ©Courtesy of Gucci
Andrew took a ubiquitous cultural/visual symbol and made it his own, depicting the monogram in all its glory with a sensibility imbued towards street culture. The artist extracted the power of the brand to not only mirror the social context of dominant culture values in contemporary life, but to also bring new narrative and dialogue towards it. Indeed, Andrew has managed to build a unique global persona reflecting today’s popular consumer culture through his pseudo identity known as GucciGhost - an interpretation of the Gucci logo as the famous cartoon character, Casper the Ghost. Soon becoming an all-consuming mascot and sponge for Andrew’s creative projects, GucciGhost has absorbed and tackled the worlds of street art, digital art, the fashion industry and the fine art world, exhibiting in Museums and fine art galleries globally. In a Warholesque fashion, there is nothing Andrew isn’t willing to tackle to extend his artistic practice - the can’t beat it join it mentality worked like a charm.
Still image (left to right) Shit is Gold, It’s raining Gucci taken from Nifty Gateway
In November 2020, Andrew partnered with Nifty Gateway, selling out his NFTs in 12 seconds, and has since then created others like “Shit is Gold” and ‘It’s Raining Gucci’, all reselling for $3.5 million in revenue. He has since then continued to explore the space and is now retiring the GucciGhost project with an NFT auction that extends and preserves his concept to a different dimension. The single NFT sale, entitled Life of a Ghost, encompasses 385 digitized individual pieces, including artworks, handbags, jackets, that embody the visual “miniverse” representation of Andrew’s former Brooklyn studio. The owner of this NFT will govern the collection of works and can choose to sell each individual, which will then disappear from the virtual studio once sold in the physical world. This gap between the digital and the physical which he is currently exploring is precisely what got Andrew excited about working with Particle.
Still image from “Life of a Ghost” — Trevor Andrew’s NFT-filled art studio “Miniverse”
Trevor Andrew posing next to his work “Banksy’s a Ghost” on the opening of the LIITA Effect Exhibition at Praz Delavallade Gallery, Los Angeles 2022
Andrew responded to Banksy’s Love is in the Air for the LIITA Effect group exhibition which took place in June 2022 at the prestigious Praz Delavallade gallery in Los Angeles. The result was a signature GucciGhost piece made specifically for the Particle Collection, entitled Banksy’s A Ghost. Andrew takes a whimsical and lighthearted take on Banksy’s iconic image - even the title points to a clever reference to Banksy’s anonymity.
Installation image of the LIITA Effect exhibition at Praz Delavallade, Los Angeles
The artist's signature Casper-esque ghost, which he states as being “part of his DNA to tell stories”, reimagines a classic moment of the GucciGhost story, where the caricature is seen with a pan in his hand tossing up an egg, in a work entitled “Life is Scary Sometimes.” Andrew revisits this moment by replacing the pan and egg with a stenciled rendition of LIITA’s bouquet, an instantly recognizable symbol of peace, beauty, and hope that Banksy used to disarm both his viewers and his figures' opponent. The whole piece is branded with Gucci insignia from a vintage found fabric, which Andrew felt was a “fun way for each holder to have a moment.”
GucciGhost, Life is Scary Sometimes, 2019, 61 x 61 inches (left) Gucci Ghost, Banksy’s A Ghost, 2022, 61 x 61 inches (right)
This attitude towards ownership and everyone “having a moment” is precisely what NFT technology has facilitated - a new narrative of ownership, perfectly symbolized in a practice such as GucciGhost, who’s whole character centers around the enigma of who owns what. A brand or monogram like Louis Vuitton or Gucci is authentic, yet paradoxically has become the biggest feature of faux fashion items, which points to the constructed notions of real vs fake. Banksy too, has explored this blurred line many times with witty pranks like having someone sell 100 percent authentically signed Banksys for 60$ at New York’s Central park - most of which remained unsold! With the appropriation of Casper the Ghost and the Gucci Monogram, GucciGhost collides two distinct worlds - a luxury brand and an iconic cartoon character, to unveil a whole other context.
Still from Banksy staged stand selling authentic pieces for 60 dollars in Central Park, 2014
Banksy’s “remixes” of famous artworks like “Show me the Monet,” satirically echo the constructed notions of real and fake through appropriation and reinterpretation. GucciGhost undoubtedly nods to Banksy and artists like Roy Lichtenstein who had made a practice of appropriating works by the great painters of art history and transforming them into the simplified language of the printed cartoon. He rendered Monets, Picassos, Cézannes and Mondrians into the mass-produced, benday-dot, cartoon-like pictorial language. He also borrowed from a Donald Duck illustrated story book, showing Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck during a fishing mishap in “Look Mickey."
Technicians handling Banksy’s Show Me the Monet at Sotheby’s in central London. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA
Lichtenstein was responding to a world where masterpieces of the past were now mass-printed on calendars, posters and postcards and commodified goods. He, like Warhol and other Pop Artists, pointed to the reproducible nature of the artwork through their appropriation of these celebrated images to the mass-producible pictorial language of the popular cartoon. Banksy and his omnipresent persona has become such a brand in and of itself, that his stencils are now reproduced on various commodified goods around the world. GucciGhost’s practice absorbs it all as well as extends these histories in the Contemporary world and with Banksy’s a Ghost, invites us to take part in new dialogues and unpack them together, one particle at a time.
(Left) Illustration which inspired Roy Lichtenstein, « Donald Duck, Lost and Found », by Carl Buettner, Illustrated by Bob Grant et Bob Totten, 1960. (Right) Roy Lichtenstein, Look Mickey, Oil on Canvas, 1961, 121.9 cm × 175.3 cm (48 in × 69 in). Courtesy of the Artist and the National Gallery of Art, London
Copyright © 2022 Particle Collection. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2022 Particle Collection. All rights reserved.