The other week the Internet rushed to the aid of local artist Tori LaConsay after H&M poached a billboard design she painted in East Atlanta Village in 2008.
After initially blowing off LaConsay with the robo-response "We employ an independent team of over 100 designers. We can assure you that this design has not been influenced by your work and that no copyright has been infringed,” it seems as though LaConsay and the retailer have made nice. LaConsay released the following statement via Regretsy this weekend:
This morning, H&M contacted my attorney to extend the olive branch and work towards an agreement that I am truly pleased to be a part of. In a gesture of kindness, H&M has offered not only to settle this matter with me, but also with the public at large, by donating $3,000 towards animal rescue organizations in the East Atlanta Village.
Additionally, H&M has offered to donate the remainder of the “You Look Nice Today” stock to charitable organizations. I am especially pleased that this agreement respectfully honors the true intent behind the original artwork, offering a message of love, compassion and community.
I credit the entirety of this WONDERFUL outcome to the support of my friends and neighbors, the East Atlanta Village, and most of all, the Regretsy community. If it weren’t for the kindness, generosity and determination in communities both geographic and digital, we would not have reached this resolution.
H&M has done the right thing. I thank them. They Look Nice Today.
See any similarity between the images above? If you answered yes, that's probably because you have eyes and a functioning brain. In the latest chapter of corporate retailers stealing from Atlanta-based artists, Tori LaConsay says she painted the sign on the left in late 2008 as a sort of love letter to East Atlanta Village. She told Regretsy:
On one side of the sign, I painted, “You Look Nice Today” followed by a little heart. This was on the side of the sign that I thought people would see on their way to work. On the other side of the sign (the side I thought people would see the most on their return back to the neighborhood) I painted, “I’m So Happy You’re Here” with another little heart. It was a small gesture that I genuinely hoped would make my neighbors feel good.
Oh, god, isn't that just the sweetest thing you've ever heard? Just this week, years after LaConsay's selfless act of sign-painting, she started getting emails from friends who had seen her message again, except this time emblazoned on H&M products. The best part is what she got back from the Swedish retailer when she contacted the company about it:
“We employ an independent team of over 100 designers. We can assure you that this design has not been influenced by your work and that no copyright has been infringed.”
Wrestling has always been big in Georgia. But with Atlanta hosting events like WrestleMania last April and the National Wrestling Alliance Legends Fanfest Weekend next week, this form of athletic theater has never been bigger. But just because the personas and in-ring action are larger-than-life doesn't mean little people can't be part of the spectacle. This weekend, Atlanta Midget Wrestling returns to the Gateway Event Center in McDonough on Friday and the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross on Saturday.
RLand's lawyer got in touch with Forever 21 and the shirt has since been pulled from their online store. Because the legal situation surrounding the use of his design is still unresolved, the artist is declining to comment directly. Just a little cursory research, though, shows that the clothing chain is no stranger to these sort of legal problems.
We'll be keeping eye out for a resolution in this case, but that may be awhile. Until then, you can check out a video of the adorable kid-fronted Eyeball Skeleton playing "Loss Cat" live and a timeline of events related to "Loss Cat" that the artist sent over earlier today.
UPDATE: Forever 21 responded to our inquiries last evening, "The Lost Cat design t-shirts were purchased from a Third Party vendor and upon being notified of the potential design issues we immediately pulled them from all stock. As with all legal matters we are taking this very seriously."
As pro wrestling’s biggest event, WrestleMania, descends upon Atlanta this week, some of the industry’s tiniest grapplers were at Wild Bill’s last Tuesday, March 22 as Micro Championship Wrestling was there to film an episode of its upcoming TruTV series debuting this summer. Though competitors such as Blixx, Justice, Short Sleeve Sampson and the lucahdor-masked Demo (billed at 3 feet 5 inches and 75 pounds) are clearly outsized by the guys that will be doing battle this weekend, MCW also had one of the biggest wrestling stars of all time, Hulk Hogan, providing commentary during the matches. Joining Hogan were Nasty Boy Knobbs and MCW’s Johnny G (whose chainsaw-like voice was difficult to decipher), with wrestling legend Pat Tanaka (who looked a bit cumbersome as a regular-sized guy in a micro-sized ring) acting as referee.
The Associated Press and Shepard Fairey have officially settled their courtroom beef and decided to make friends. The whole mess got started when Fairey appropriated an AP staff photographer's image of Barack Obama for his now-iconic Hope poster, leading to a lawsuit, a countersuit, and some dicey-looking criminal investigations into destruction of evidence. The legal shitstorm mutated into a national discussion on intellectual property and fair use, with scholars like Lawrence Lessig and Stephen Johnson championing the rights and traditions of "remix culture." Now the AP is reporting that they've made nice with Fairey:
In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law. Mr. Fairey has agreed that he will not use another AP photo in his work without obtaining a license from the AP. The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs. The parties have agreed to additional financial terms that will remain confidential.
The takeaway from this resolution is a clear message about copyright infringement and fair use: so long as you're an international icon worth millions, you can probably settle these issues by leveraging your image and co-branding with the company that was previously suing you. Problem solved, right?
Seriously? More Beltline art vandalized? This is why you can't have nice things, Atlanta.
Sixfold Collective got some sad news yesterday morning when members found out their installation "Recurrence," a mixed-media work channeling the energy and abundance of nature, was destroyed. Burned, actually.
Sixfold's artists, which include Corrina Sephora Mensoff, Terri Dilling, Susan Ker-Seymer, Amandine Drouet, Susan A. Cipcic and Ann Rowles, have very little information on what happened besides what they can see. "We are just dealing with the shock and loss of our piece, and all the work that went into it," said Dilling in an e-mail this morning. "Very sad for us, and for the Beltline too, as this hurts their attempts to promote public art in Atlanta."
Earlier this summer, Larry Jens Anderson's Pride-commissioned Beltline installation "Locked Out" was vandalized on two separate occasions.
Will I watch? Of course, with the far-off hope that the show turns out to be as much of a train wreck as the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" and other programming of its ilk. Because really, while outfitted with a respectable judges' table (including New York Magazine Senior Art Critic Jerry Saltz), "Bravos latest stroke on the reality canvas" (as the network's website calls it) will most likely be bunch of hooey filled with crying and easel fights. (Yay! Easel fight!) Not necessarily a bad thing in my book.
So why hate on "Work of Art" but not, say, "Project Runway" or "Top Chef?" Fish has to be cooked properly. Fabric must be sewn with precision. There's a similar, broader expectation for quality when it comes to works of art, but the rules by which they're judged are not so black and white. In her Bravo bio, actress/model and host-to-be China Chow says, "art is the purest form of expression, existing without set boundaries." But the inherent nature of all these shows is to establish boundaries (see: weekly challenges) and then force the contestants to conform and perform within specific constraints. It's a fun game to play, and could even be entertaining to watch, but clearly a shortsighted view of what and who (industry elites in this case) determine what makes art "great."
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