The Art of Stealing


There are very few times in life when daylight robbery is acceptable. Lukas Renlund has found one of them.

Art theft is a US$6 billion industry and according to the FBI the fourth largest crime worldwide, but if you’d like the adrenaline rush minus the threat of incarceration, photographer Lukas Renlund has a solution. His latest string of exhibitions, aptly named “Steal My Photograph!” are encouraging amateur art thieves the world over to flex their criminal instincts and pinch one of his photographs – free of charge, obviously.


Inspired by his former life in advertising, Lukas sees clever marketing as an essential factor in producing revered works of art – and getting people’s attention.

“Marketing and photography, especially commercial photography, have a lot in common,” he says. “In both cases you’re selling something, whether that’s your personal brand or the product you’re focusing on.

Lukas explains the saying, “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I’ll remember, teach me and I’ll understand, involve me and I’ll tell my friends”, inspired his first exhibition in Copenhagen.

Since then, SMP has travelled to London, Barcelona and Cape Town and Lukas is now preparing for a global tour; all of which has been generously funded via a grant from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

“The goal was to offer my audience an experience they would never forget,” says Lukas, adding that he likes to reinvent the exhibition in each new city. The residents of Copenhagen enjoyed a wall of photographs and a frenzy to the finish line, while Barcelona locals stumbled across pictures hanging from trees, lampposts, gates and even fountains, each one stickered with “steal this photograph” and a camera installed behind the frame to capture the art thieves in action.

“Art should be made available to everybody. It’s interesting to me when art that in most cases would be exhibited indoors is displayed in public spaces instead. A static gallery atmosphere cannot be compared to the lively dynamics of an outdoor environment,” says Lukas.

“Art, in itself, has no real value. It’s difficult to put a price tag on [it]. What then determines an artwork’s value, you may ask? It’s the buyer’s perception of its value. So, upon realising this, I decided to make my art worth stealing.”

Check out the videos below to see all the action in Capetown, London, Barcelona and Copenhagen. Next stop, Helsinki!

SMP Cape Town

SMP London

SMP Barcelona

SMP Copenhagen

Photography & Concept by Lukas Renlund (

Cinematography & Post Production by Anders Lönnfeldt (