I've just recorded a new podcast for my digital art blog and will cut up and post it very soon. I'm also still quite busy with several projects, so as soon as I get a breather I'll share new artwork and new podcasts.
I've been busy with several projects lately, so my posts here (as well as on my digital podcast blog) have been scarce. I will have PLENTY of news and art in the coming months, but for now here's an early peek at one illustration I'm working on this week:
Here's a unique level of dirty politics - abusing art:
In case you missed the latest news, you can read here on MSNBC how a well-known McCain 'hater' (possibly others) is using a flier sent to more than 80 newspapers in South Carolina to send a negative message about the beliefs and history of Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate. A few of you might also recognize the art. It is a drawing that I completed while passing time at Sea World in 2005, posted on(and eventually taken directly from) THIS blog back in 2006:
This is a clear violation of copyright. The image was chopped up and used without my concent, while the only changes are the re-tracing of the linework, minimal distortion in the eyes, and the cropping of the jowls to cut the size of the jaw and neck:
It's amazing how some individuals assume they can steal artwork and misrepresent someone with their dirty message. A mildly edited EXACT version of my drawing, stolen right here from my blog and used for negative political campaigning. It's quite sad.
About a year ago I addressed this issue. If you didn't read it I can recap the whole thing very quickly:
I did a drawing.
I posted it online.
Someone traced it and published it.
I found out.
The offender denied it.
*Here is a visual comparison; my image mirrored on the left, sliding over the published illustration on the right.
So over the course of several months, I was communicating with the editor of the paper where this employee works, trying to come to (what was promised to be) an amicable solution. To keep it simple, I can tell you that it was not amicable, but the issue is over.
After emails, talks, discussions with lawyers, a phone call harassment from a husband and many weeks in between conversations (seemingly stalling the discussion), I decided to drop the issue. Last month I communicated this to the person in charge, on the publication's end.
I did this for three reasons:
1. The person in charge of this "investigation" apparently had very little knowledge about the logistics in this situation, making it very difficult to convey the seriousness, validity and obvious nature of the charge, as well as the proper solution. I was facing a 50 ft. brick wall that was saying, "I don't understand why you can't just walk over me?" - in as purely sincere a way as possible. He is really a genuine individual and I didn't want to get heated with him.
2. In my opinion, I was past an implied statute of limitations. By that I mean the matter had been stalled for too long by the employer of the offending party, as well as my delay in obtaining a lawyer to handle the situation. My defaulting to honesty and trust was a flaw in this particular situation. While I trust it overall in my life (HONESTY, INTEGRITY and ACCOUNTABILITY), it doesn't seem to convince anyone of a 'crime'.
3. I learned from my good friend Tom that this particular case doesn't really matter in the long run. Jennifer Boressen is in no way ruining my career, stalling my work ethic, obstructing future jobs or hurting me directly. An argument can be made the opposite, sure, but in this case, I learned more than I achieved. I will have to pick my battles, and much like the person on the city sidewalk printing my caricatures for their $5 charcoal sketches, it doesn't hurt me as much as it hurts them. I am somewhat a believer in karma and I feel that I need to worry only about myself and I'll be fine.
So yes, it is over and I had nothing admitted to me. I was assured that the issue was not taken lightly. Supposedly actions were taken in the workplace and "...a discussion has arose that will not soon go away." I've spoken with this editor quite a bit and gotten to know him as an individual and I feel he is sincere.
--- NOW ---
Although I treaded lightly this time, I have learned a lot. I have also already begun to legally copyright ALL of my own artwork as well as contact a lawyer for future cases of plagiarism or theft. Next time I know how to handle it and have decided that while I attempted to trust honesty this time, next time I probably won't be so nice. I'm not out to get anyone's head on a platter, but if someone steals, I will try to them accountable for it legally and financially (if reasonable and fitting).
I want to say that I appreciate all the support I got on this issue, and I don't intend to let it lay next time. It's great to know there are so many artists watching each others' backs, and that community is what really matters. I want to thank my buddy Mike Briggs in Worcester MA for the heads-up on this one. I owe him a beer!
Comedy Central has a new tour special this year called "Brian Regan: Standing Up" - Brian is hilarious - easily one of the funniest men alive. There are lots of other great Comedy Central regulars that are hilarious as well... like Frank Caliendo, Dave Attell, and many other talented individuals.
Well, Comedy Central is having a vote for the funniest comedian of 2008, and lots of folks are up for the running. Check it out - I won't tell you who I'd vote for, but I did just learn that Brian Regan is selling some new merchandise with NEAT artwork!
They look kinda cool, right? The artwork looks familiar...
I have seen the 'artists' on the streets of New York drawing caricatures, from Times Square to Central Park. Sometimes you'll find a genuine artists with honest samples up, but most of these caricaturists seem to have no integrity and give us all a bad image.
Tom has mentioned this on his blog before (I've seen his work out there), and it's nothing to call your lawyer over, as it will surely effect nothing. But it really is a fun, when taking a day off in the city, to spot your own artwork, as well as your friends'.
While shopping near Rockefeller Center, I had a fun encounter. I first spotted a caricature by my friend, and former house-mate Glenn Ferguson, depicting master caricaturist Kage Nakanishi. This made me laugh, as no one on the streets will recognize Kage, a Japanese businessman and artist, so there is no logic behind it other than laziness and lack of respect or honesty. It made me laugh out loud, so I ran across the street, where my girlfriend took this photograph:
"No, my friends already drew all of these. Where is your work? This isn't your art."
"..." (he ignored me of course, playing with his phone as though he didn't hear me, no longer interested in my money for some reason)
And then to my enjoyment (a block later) we found yet another thief already drawing a nice couple. They look confused when I posed for this picture, pointing at my very own painting of Freddy Mercury, so I told them it was mine:
"Yeah, I painted that one." (pointing at the image while the artist acted like he didn't hear me)
"Really? What do you mean?" the woman asked.
"Oh, none of these are his images. He stole them from the internet. That one's on my website."
"huh..." (slight confusion and disbelief)
"I'm not joking," I finished, with a confident voice and smile, "but have a good day."
I don't mean to ruin their experience, but I felt they could handle the truth. They looked mildly entertained while being swindled.
I did bump into a Russian artist who laughed when I pointed out the dishonesty of the first artist. He was set up with all original art, right next to him and his reaction revealed that he agreed with my statement. He walked over to talk to me for a minute or two, and it was refreshing to hear someone be very honest and realistic; he came to the United States as a teenager and went to school for graphic design. Because he is so comfortable with the computer and imaging programs, a lot of his work had photographic elements and distortion, yet he was the first to point this out to me... how he needs to overcome this and he likes to practice. What an amazing juxtaposition within those 10 feet of New York sidewalk. It made me quite happy to meet him, after seeing implied plagiarism just seconds before.
Anyway... if you go to New York and get a caricature, find the artist that will talk to you before selling you a half-hearted sketch, because that's the one that matters. This isn't the last time I'll see my colleagues' work on the street... and it's sort of fun. While it doesn't matter to 90% of their customers (and it shouldn't), it's something that the artists have the right to point out. It's humanity at its best.
I'm so far behind trends most of the time, but when I catch up, it feels so right. I guess I'm a bit of a child in my nature, so I have to wait and see what's working. Basically, I'm never a "first" or a "pioneer" when it comes to fashion and technology.
I recently updated my user interface for Windows XP, got a simple desktop calendar/scheduler, did a disc cleanup and defragment (long overdue), and put to use my computer in a way that exceeded it's previous 2001 user equivalent (again... not the quickest in the group).
I'm quite excited over little things like this, because it energizes me. I sit in front of my computer half of every day (lots of digital art, nowadays) and need change of scenery. This will delay my buying a new computer for a few months, anyway.
So do you have any more tips for an archaic PC user?
On another topic, has anyone tried the 12" Wacom Cintiq? I'm thinking about going in that direction. Any tips ( vs. 20" or 21" ) would really help out.