One of the exclusive rights granted to an artist when she creates an original work is the right to “transform” or “recast” that work in ways she sees fit. That precludes others from, say, taking one’s painting of a unicorn and making unicorn stuffed animals based on the painting. Below, we have a very modern example of alleged unauthorized “transformation” and “recasting.” Read on.
- Scott A. Burroughs, Esq. ( scott@copyrightLA.com )
Quite a lot of activity ensued on Facebook Recently when High Street Gallery posted details of an upcoming art exhibition by Artist Lynn Howarth on Facebook page I know this Great Little Place In Glasgow.
Some visitors remarked “wow” at the posting of the lady’s art but one or two comments were more inquisitive. “Is this an edited photo?” someone enquired. The answer from High Street Gallery representative David Johnston was that no, Ms Howarth’s art was all freehand and on ipad.
Really. Well that’s astounding. It appears we have a new art legend in our midst. Although if you compare her digital art to her traditional art there seems to be more than a slight difference in skill level. As some digi-artheads got together and started rummaging around Ms Howarths own website things became interesting. Her Facebook pages (linked from her art website) were even more interesting. Gasps from various visitors enquiring “My goodness is that a painting”? were met with yes. Apparently you only have to look closely to see the brush strokes and the sitters were also very patient. Apparently.
Now the iPad (which this was created on) is good and the art packages are great as any digi-artist will tell you. No need for great cumbersome digitisers etc. This painting however, and we are not saying it is, but let’s just say we are more than a little convinced it’s a photo-manip….but did she forget the eyes? There is other very telling detail if you look closely….and we did.
So we got suspicious to the integrity of this whole thing. Some quick searching came up with this:-
Abbozzo image on the left, Ms Howarths “Freehand Drawing” on the right.
We couldn’t resist in our excited little group sticking this up on a HUGE monitor and checking it out. It’s a photomanip with some kind of drawing or tracing on top, that goes without question but the interesting thing was the copyright. It belonged to Architects Abbozzo.
Two of our members are photographers and this was enough to get them, lets say, a bit pissed. The hunt continued…..
This one was quite spectacular.
There were more…..
By this point, one of our members started posting on the High Street Gallery Facebook Page. The posts were removed but some stayed for a while. We decided it was the right thing to do to contact the copyright owners.
Now, YouThought We Wouldn’t Notice states that it is not really about artist against artist, but this gallery owners attitude turned out to be appalling. Ms Howarth may be niaive at best, but the way this next guy was treated is dispicable.
Original by photographer on the left and Ms Howarths freehand sketch on the right. Unfortunately the quality on this is poor as it was pulled quickly.
The photographer (who has requested that his name be removed) contacted High Street Gallery but was shocked to find that the gallery were standing by their artist. The photographer stated that the gallery defended Ms Howarth. He also pointed out that far from being naive, Ms Howrths own website is covered with copyright symbols on her own work so she is clearly aware.
And if you think all this doesn’t matter – we reckon there were around 10 images in this show at least (We had another fantastic copyright breach of George Square in Glasgow but it too was pulled quickly). Ten images with say an edition of say 500 selling at 100 pounds sterling. That’s a total of half a million in turnover. Surely it’s right that some of this goes to the creator of the true original?
This, of course, does not deal with the fact that digital art is presented as painting when it is photography based photomanipulation or tracing.
Ms Howarth has even done a demo at an iPad store. I wonder what Apple would think?
The only funny thing about all this, her exhibition was called Mi Art (as in My Art but with an iPad twist).
We will be watching.
UPDATE High Street Gallery, further to the glaring copyright infringement cancelled the Lynn Howarth Exhibition. At this time we cannot confirm if they are still selling the questionable prints.