Chuck Close Succeeds In Stifling A Creative Homage... But Only For Another 100 Years Or So!

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

Chuck Close is an interesting artist. One of the most famous, most successful artists alive today, he paints giant portraits of people based on photographs. He does so by enlarging photographs, dividing up the images, and copying smaller areas square by square. The effect is quite striking. A couple years ago, there was an astoundingly fascinating interview of both Close and famed neuroscientist Oliver Sachs (who the movie Awakenings was based on) talking about how both have face blindness, in that they simply cannot recognize faces. Given that, it's interesting to see that Close's entire career is based on painting faces.

Scott Blake is a long-time devoted Chuck Close fan -- and also a skilled computer artist. In 2001 he had the idea to create a "Chuck Close Filter," which would take images and turn them into something that looks like a Chuck Close image. While it took a lot of work, and was showcased at an exhibit in 2002, he said that computers weren't fast enough to make use of the filter in realitime at the time. In 2008, computers were fast enough that they could take an uploaded photo and automatically generate a "Chuck Close filtered version," so he set up a site called FreeChuckCloseArt.com. Two years later than that, Close threatened to take legal action against him. Blake has now detailed the whole thing in a long blog post. Here's the exchange between the two, though, reading the entire story (and seeing the images) is absolutely worthwhile:

I never intended to rip off Chuck Close, so when he emailed me in November 2010 threatening legal action, I did exactly what he said and took my filter offline immediately. Still, I feel obligated to point out that Close is the 14th richest living artist, worth a staggering $25 million. I really don’t think any work I make is going to “jeopardize” his career or his livelihood.

Here is what he wrote (in all caps):

YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO USE MY WORK WHICH IS COPYRIGHTED. NOR DO  WISH TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR PROJECT. YOU MUST SHUT DOWN YOUR WEBSITE IMMEDIATELY OR I WILL BE FORCED TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION.

I replied:

I have attempted to get in touch with you. I think your art is great. I drove 10 hours to see your exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in 1998 and was blown away. I wish we had met under better circumstances. I understand you do not want me to continue my Free Chuck Close Filter, but I would like the opportunity to talk with you before you take any legal action. I believe my website is not copying your art, but rather is a logical extension of the creative process. Please consider talking with me before you make legal decision, from one artist to another.

Close wrote back:

Even if your motives are not bad, I still do not want my work trivialized. I must fight you because if I know of your project, and do nothing to exercise my legal rights, that will put me in a position where I can’t fight the next, even more egregious usage of my copyrighted image and use of my name. It may be an amusing project and many people might like it, but it is MY art that is trivialized, MY career you are jeopardizing, MY legacy, which I have to think about for my children, and MY livelihood. I must fight to protect it. I hope you will realize the harm you are doing me and my work that you claim you admire and voluntarily shut down the site so as to avoid a law-suit.

I responded:

I respect your decision, and I have shut my free online filter down. I feel obligated to help stop this from happening again. I believe it is better to respond to the situation than delete the project without any explanation. Please review http://www.freechuckcloseart.com.

He wrote:

Thank you so much for your decision. I must say I didn’t expect it. It means a lot to me that you were able to understand my point of view. Thank you. Im in Germany till the end of December, but after I’m back and if you are in New York City, come by and say hello.

The last thing I said to him was:

Thank you for accepting my sincere apology, and especially for inviting me to your New York City studio. I live in Omaha, Nebraska, but I might make a special trip just to see you.

I have trouble believing there's a realistic copyright claim here. If anything, I'd think he would have a stronger publicity rights claim (or possibly trademark name if he's trademarked his name, though a quick USPTO search fails to find a trademark on Chuck Close), but publicity rights claims are a bit messy (and vary state to state) so even that's not entirely clear. But the larger point is how shameful it is for Close to legally threaten another creative individual for doing something that, if anything, would inspire greater interest in Chuck Close's work. The idea that the filter "jeopardizes" Close's career makes no sense at all. Who is really going to see a filtered image and suddenly think they no longer need to see Close's real work? If anything it's likely to inspire the exact opposite.

Separately, Close is grossly misinformed in saying that he has to take legal action or he loses the ability to do so with others. While something sort of like that (but not quite) is true with trademark law, it's entirely permissible to ignore infringement under copyright (or even to issue free licenses to those you like).

But the weirdest claim is that this hurts his "legacy." I would argue that being an absolute jerk to someone who created a filter as an homage to you hurts your legacy a hell of a lot more than the filter itself.

Blake notes that while he has shut down the site, he has a plan. Recognizing that eventually Close's works will go into the public domain, he's made plans for the filter to be re-released in 100 years after Close's death, on the assumption (perhaps not a good one due to extensions) that the works will be public domain by then:
I asked my lawyer friend if I could release my Chuck Close Filter 100 years after Close dies and his copyright runs out; my lawyer assured me that I could do so without fear of reprisal. I have not made Close aware of my plans, but if he finds out, I would be surprised if he wasn’t insulted. Don’t get me wrong, I know we will both be dead in 100 years, but the point is that our art will live on, and that is what matters to me most. We all have a legacy to think about; Chuck Close isn’t the only one.
Blake also challenges some of Close's claims of originality, including his argument that his paintings came along before computer generated art. Blake shows that's not true, and even shows some compelling evidence that there's at least a greater-than-zero chance that Close, in fact, was inspired by computer generated art that pre-dated his own. Either way, Blake has decided that the best plan at this point -- if he can't actually offer a Chuck Close filter -- is to make sure the world knows that Chuck Close acts this way towards fans and those who create tools that celebrate him.
I believe my art is fair use, but I don’t have a war chest to back up that assertion in a courtroom, so the wealthy bully wins by default. My only recourse is to publicize my defeat in order to shine a light on these types of situations. My hope is that Chuck Close develops a sense of shame and regret, realizes his mistake and offers up an apology. I want this article to serve as a point of reference for current and future artists. The worst part about this whole mess is that it makes established visual artists like Close seem petty. By not embracing new and interesting ways of making art, he is contributing to the widening of the generation gap. His irrational fear of computers has made him wildly out of touch with my generation and generations to come. I feel he singled me out because I choose to work in a medium that he finds inferior.

I think Close is confusing enterprise with creativity; they are not the same and in some cases can work against one another. In the end, I believe Close’s misguided and hypocritical actions will do more harm to his legacy than any so-called “derivative art” could ever do. His behavior has left me no choice but to carry out my 100-year plan.
It's always disappointing to see artists harm the works of others with excessive copyright claims. There's simply no reason that Close needed to act this way, and count me among those who has shifted from being a fan of Close's work to someone who just isn't interested in supporting him in any way after actions like this.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    I don't care how good an artist is (or rather, how much I appreciate their sensitivities), if they behave like a scumbag then I am disinclined toward supporting any further propagation of their art.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    What a dolt...the "fan" that is. He ended his conversation with the artist on a very positive note, and then later apparently decides to "out" the artist. Not good form.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:08am

    Re:

    "Not good form"....but possibly very afraid of misused legal action.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Making a new one

    This doesn't seem like it would be a particularly impossible filter to recreate. Anyone want to get Internet-famous?

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    The Frak?

    This is essentially claiming rights to a method of producing an image, and one that Close didn't invent at that.

    Hell, given the laxity of the USPTO, Blake should just get a software patent for doing this "on a computer"

     

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    Jeff (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    Re: The Frak?

    ... on the internet to boot!

     

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    pnips, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    If I'd seen a handful of Close's paintings without reading the article first, I would have thought they had been produced by a filter.

     

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    Colin, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    I must fight you because if I know of your project, and do nothing to exercise my legal rights, that will put me in a position where I canít fight the next, even more egregious usage of my copyrighted image and use of my name.

    Is it not possible for him to give his approval for one project, while not allowing it on other, future projects he might not agree with? Or even "license" it for a dollar or something?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    Did you see this guy's whiny website: http://www.barcodeart.com/artwork/portraits/chuck_close/index.html

    Dolt indeed.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    I think it more important that a dialogue happened, even if I think Close is completely wrong in this area. The fact is that a fan is doing something that is appreciative of the artist's work that is not necessarily financially motivated.

     

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    AC Cobra, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Not new

    I have seen photoshop filters that do this before (I think some have been done with filter factory?) and this would be a great time to propagate them.

    Cue Streisand Effect.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Mike, please don't put this under copyright-as-censorship. It's just another artist thinking he is entitled to making sure nobody copies him even if it does no harm. And what he doesn't understand that the tech is already out there so all this is meaningless since more people will be inspired to do the same just to spite him.

     

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    Anonymous Howard, Cowering, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:25am

    Why wait 100 years?

    Change the name to NotCloseToChucksArt and re-post it. Those who are curious can find the touchy artist's copyrighted works easily enough, and there would not even be a trademark/publicity rights claim available.

    Mr. Close's inflamed sense of entitlement ("...MY legacy, which I have to think about for my children"...) seems to be nearing professional sepsis.

     

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Good grief. If I were Blake, and I received the "thank you for understanding my position" crap he did, the email I would have sent would have been:
    "
    Close,

    I've taken down my respect of your work and replaced it with how much I dislike you and your attitude, which now turns your works into the ugliest things I've ever laid eyes on.

    Thank you for the opportunity of showing me how you truly feel about art which I can now share with the world."

    But that's just me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    My mother once gave each of her students a square with a distinct pattern on it and instructed each student to reproduce their square with assorted construction paper and paste. Each student made their own choices about shades of paper and had different skill with the scissors, and the result, once the students' reproductions were assembled, was a striking (and enormous!) mosaic reproduction of this famous portrait.
    I suppose Close will have to fight her as well, lest he lose the ability to "preserve his legacy".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re:

    People complain on the internet?!


    No fucking way!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:43am

    Re: Why wait 100 years?

    Ugh, the "legacy" stuff sticks in my craw. Why exactly should his kids have any control over images they didn't create well after this guy is long dead? What's he gonna do if he's gone to the great beyond and his descendants throw all his stuff into the public domain? come back and...push a salt shaker off a shelf or something?

    If by "legacy" he means "income generation", then give them your money now, Chuckles, don't make them wait til yer dead. Copyright's too damn long and should not have anything to do with lifespan, makes some people weird.

    Share back and lighten the hell up, Mr. Close; you'll live better, if not longer.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: The Frak?

    The way the USPTO works, he could get two patents for that. One first for on a computer. And then another for over a network. Probably 50 other patents could stem from variations on that using terms such as network, interwebs, and series of tubes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Some more than others. He asked for permission. The guy said no. That should be the end of it. Instead, he put up some snarky, whiny website.

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So? Put up your own snarky, whiny website telling him you disagree if you want.

     

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    MrWilson, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re: Making a new one

    This is what I think is the blind spot for Blake. All he has to do is dissociate the filter from Close. Remove Close's name from the project. Don't mention him at all as a source of inspiration (because Close apparently wants no new fans to stumble upon his work through Blake). Then just illustrate the use of the filter as a photo mosaic filter and that's that. No infringement. No fear of legal threats. Close can't patent the technique, especially if it's just procedural.

    But if Blake just sits on it until he dies and then it's released in 100 years, it'll be irrelevant, if even remembered, because in the mean time (and maybe even soon because of this story getting out) someone else will have duplicated the filter's functionality without making the mistake of using a touchy, legally ill-informed artist's name or a reference to their work.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    "We all have a legacy to think about; Chuck Close isnít the only one."

    This sentence says it all to me. Those in established positions seem to think that they're the only ones that are allowed to be creative, and that only the ones that are lucky enough to get rich making art get to dictate who can be creative and who can't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    I asked my lawyer friend if I could release my Chuck Close Filter 100 years after Close dies and his copyright runs out; my lawyer assured me that I could do so without fear of reprisal.

    Careful there, dudes. That's still plenty of time for the cartels to have copyright protection extended a few more decades.

     

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  24.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: The Frak?

    I say he just puts the code out there under the Apache License on SourceForge and be done with it.

    Wouldn't it be funny if in five years some kid with a tablet walks into a Close exhibit and says, "I have filter for that on my tablet".

     

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  25.  
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    Haywood (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:01am

    Chuck Who

    Don't know don't care, and he is doing everything in his power to keep it that way.

     

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  26.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Re: Not new

    Cue Streisand singing in the dark, with Close running around spraying water on his flaming works, as Rome burns in the background.

    That is a great visual image. :D

     

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    Mark Meldola, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Aesthetics

    Mike -
    I don't think you have a clue about what it means to trivialize someone's art. Artists who do not wish to see
    their art trivialized should be respected. I believe litigation can destroy technological innovation but this is about art, not a new chip design.

     

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  28.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: What Whine?

    All he's done is communicate Chuck Close's desires and wants, which is to day that he doesn't want to see collages etc of his art reproduced, mixed and otherwise "degraded" by art made using software.

    If anyone is whinging it's Close.

    Blake only passed on, in point form, what he and Close had discussed. To go by the emails Close has seen what's there and approved of it.

    Blake is right in his assertion of a generational divide on how art is made between how Close sees it and how he sees it. I suspect many other "traditional" painters do as well.

    Let's remember Close himself bases his work on portrait photos which, I assume, he had permission to use as the professional photographer who took the portrait would be the copyright owner of those. After this I hope he did.

     

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  29.  
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    L.A.B (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    Chuck Close

    I see nothing wrong with Chuck Close's behavior. Look, the guy comes up with a process to make art that he made famous. Some fan sets up a site using his NAME and he is not associated with it.I don't think it's unreasonable to ask the fan to stop. The fan can keep the site up just call it something else! So many times on here people imply that copyright is a hindrance. Only seems like people that are not artist feel they are entitled to use and reproduce something that someone else created...You do not. The amount of money Chuck Close is worth is utterly irrelevent

     

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  30.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Frak?

    Better, use the filter to produce a Close style image of a middle finger titled "Fuck Close." Print it out on a large format printer, and exhibit it in a gallery.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Chuck Who

    Don't know don't care, and he is doing everything in his power to keep it that way.

    Never heard of Chuck Close myself, but I think he should change his name because it's too similar to Chuck Nice, who is an artist I love and respect.

    /sarc (well, except for the Chuck Nice part, he really is a great guy. Happy that he is now a regular on Startalk Radio.)

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How about I just comment here that I think he's being whiny, and then I'll just get along with my life.

     

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    Lord Binky, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Re: Aesthetics

    Art is trivialized because it is non-essential, not because someone's actions are a shift to an entire art movement inspired by on one artist's style.

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Making a new one

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the filter is already out there in the wild. So while Blake may have taken it off line after what's happened it'll start popping up elsewhere.

    Close is better served and would have been better served putting a zipper on it because it's out of both Blake's and his control in the event that it is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You mean he is being you?
    I am shocked.

     

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  36.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re:

    Of course. Also, as the OP points out, Close is incorrect. Ignoring an instance of copyright infringement (which this isn't anyway) does not diminish your ability to fight future infringement.

     

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    Lord Binky, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    Re: Chuck Close

    The amount of money Chuck Close is worth is relevent when the outcome of a legal battle is dependent on the amount of money a person can spend... What Chuck Close asked for was the removal of the site, not the removal of any direct of implied associations with his name. If the guy removed Close's name, Close wouldnt' have any further legal ground to stand on,but that still wouldn't mean that Chuck Close 'feels' butt-hurt and wronged in some way and would likely turn to legal action because it is easier, and a proven high success rate, to force someone to do what you want with the threat of large debt instead of many other methods like 'talking'.

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re: Aesthetics

    And what of Blake's art?

    Besides, one man's "trivialization" is another man's homage, and another man's critique, and another man's independent idea, and another man's improvement... Do you really believe artists have the moral right you are attributing to them?

    I don't.

    Once an artist has released his work to the world, it's not up to him what others build on top of it, or how they react to it. If someone wrote a bad review of Close's work, should Close be able to censor that review for "trivializing" him?

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: What Whine?

    I assume, he had permission to use
    I wouldn't lay odds either way... after all he's an Artist (capital 'A'), not a "thieving copy merchant" so any use of his of "other people's works" must be transformative and fair use... right?

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ooh - I like the sound of that last bit! But I won't hold my breath... you seem pretty obsessed with whining around here.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:30am

    Legacy intact...

    Well Mr Close's legacy is definitely far more secure as far as I'm concerned now. After all, up to now when I've seen images like that I've thought, "Well that's a mildly cool way to transform a picture, I wonder who came up with that", without too much interest. From now on though, I'll be able to think "Oh, that's that thing by that guy with his head so far up his own....."

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Re: Aesthetics

    Trivialized?

    Was Nikolai Tesla trivialized when people gave the measurement of energy his name to it?

    Was Lord Kelvin trivialized when a temperature scale was given his name to it?

    I don't think you have a clue about trivializing really means.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Chuck Close

    I see all the wrong in the world, "exclusion" should be the exception to the rule of freedom not the norm, that is what you seem not to understand and the consequences of not doing it that way are dire.

     

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    Rea Litie, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Why boycott such a nice guy?

    I don't care how good an artist is (or rather, how much I appreciate their sensitivities), if they behave like a scumbag then I am disinclined toward supporting any further propagation of their art.

    But in what are supposedly his comments, the "artist" comes across as such a nice and humble guy genuinely appreciative to the world for his success and completely devoid of any hint of ego. Or maybe just another business.

    On a related note: copyright must be killed dead. Whatever the lies of its original purpose (and even centuries-old pure bullshit still sounds like pure bullshit), it is being used by very EVIL "people" as a weapon to accomplish even more EVIL.

     

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    Prisoner 201, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Re: Aesthetics

    "I don't think you have a clue about what it means to trivialize someone's art. Artists who do not wish to see
    their art trivialized should be respected."


    And why should we respect the wishes of one person to feel special over another person or persons wishes to create cool stuff?

    Which is of greater benefit to society?

    Copyright is not, have never been, and should never be about protecting someone's feelings.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Making a new one

    I completely agree.
    With no referance to the artist this technique should be completely legal, no matter what.
    There is something to be said about fighting it to avoid more "egregious works". It is a legal tradition in some civil courts, that you have to sue someone you know is using your work without permission because if you do not, for a long enough period, it will be seen as an implicit permission (which is logical if you think about it.).
    Therefore it would be stupid of him to ignore the knowledge of the site and just do nothing.
    The best way to go for Close would be to give permission since it would put him in a better light publicly and he would avoid having to deal with "legal reasoning".
    On the other hand: If he feel so strongly against it because of the naming, I think it is the right thing to do, to treat it like a potential upcoming case...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:42am

    Chuck Close should send a letter to Wikipedia demanding they takedown the photos of his work from there and use the Google search to takedown all the photos of his work out there, that would be wonderful.

    He also should sue for (laughing) copyright infringement all the video codecs out there that use squares to recreate pieces of image, this is why all images have blocky artifacts because they are divided into squares that are filled with image data after, frak look at how JPEG does compression.

    http://www.ams.org/samplings/feature-column/fcarc-image-compression

     

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  48.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Aesthetics

    Artists who do not wish to see
    their art trivialized
    Given the origin of "trivial":
    Latin trivialis found everywhere, commonplace,

    I can't imagine anything more trivial than art anyway. "Art" is everywhere and potentialy in everything.

    More to the point, how does copying a style do anything to the worth of the original art? Is Van Gogh's work made less worthy by someone having themselves painted in the style of his self portrait? To my mind, if art can be "trivialsed" so easily it really can't have been that great in the first place.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    I had no idea who Chuck was until now. Now that I know, I really don't want to see any of his work and I have no respect for him as an artist and a human being. Great PR move, Chuck.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    Is it not possible for him to give his approval for one project, while not allowing it on other, ...

    Of course. Mr Close is apparently confusing copyright with trademark (or perhaps the counsel he has retained is incompetent).

     

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  51.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    100 year old software

    If his plan is to not release the software until 100 years from when the artists dies, then he might as well just delete it.

    Its sometimes difficult to get 10 year old software to run on current hardware/operating systems (for example written for WindowsXP, trying to get to run under Windows 7). Add in the same problems we face with digital archival - hardware and formats may no longer exist to be able to read something after extended time periods.

    While it's not clear exactly how his filter works, I can bet that Photoshop version 2112 won't recognize it.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    What's whiny about that? He's completely correct.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re:

    Probably both since IP law is designed specifically for that exact purpose(i.e. control), surely those people saying those things are being naive at best or straight up dishonest, in this case I will go with naive, though.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:08am

    Re: 100 year old software

    I don't think there is a need for it, mosaics can be created already, just search for "computer mosaic creator" and see how many freeware, adware, commercial and open source programs there are.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, 'cause writing an article about how it's censorship! (OMG!) isn't whining. Not at all.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What happened to "moving ow with my life"?

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    Chuckles Closed the fun.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Re: Chuck Close

    I have great respect for Chuck Close's work. I think, no matter how wrong he might be in this matter, he handled his correspondence with respect. I however wish he would have just asked to have his name removed from the project. At least by his direct communication, I can keep some respect for the man.

    His style came from surviving horrendous physical tragedy and emotional pain; I completely understand his urge to keep a tight grip on the style that allowed him to keep working.

    That being said, his actions are an over-reach in my opinion, but understandable from a human perspective.

     

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  59.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    His threats and promises are just like his arguments and head.


    Empty.

     

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  60.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah but I picture you with a really, really whiny voice, so it's much worse.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Re: Chuck Close

    "...the guy comes up with a process to make art that he made famous..."

    He did not make it famous. His audience, his fans, did. He owes those supporters everything he has, without them he would wallow in obscurity.

    "...seems like people that are not artist feel they are entitled to use and reproduce something that someone else created..."

    As Mr. Close did by reproducing photographs in a different medium? As Mr. Close (or any artist) did by educating and training himself in the arts over his long career? I wouldn't call what Mr. Close does "reproducing" a photo, he is reinterpreting it in his own way using his own methods. What Blake did is even further removed from reproducing anyone's work since it's purely a method or process, a tool to be used. Like a paintbrush or a thumb used to create a painting of a photograph.

     

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  62.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Re: Chuck Who

    Didn't know didn't care.

    Now when I hear his name I will know they are talking about a rich bully with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement suffering from the ever popular tortured artist effect.

     

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  63.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Aesthetics

    This gives me an idea, take some of close's artwork to Tijuana and have it converted into black velvet paintings.

     

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  64.  
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    dennis deems, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Re: Chuck Close

    "the guy comes up with a process to make art"

    Is there a single component of his process that hadn't been done before by other artists? I'd really like to know this. As far as I can tell, all he does is bring various techniques together. His style seems to me little more than a parody of the four-color printing process, something we have thanks to the skilled innovations of a number of far more gifted artists than Close. What an inflated, narcissistic gas bag.

     

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  65.  
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    Mike Martinet (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Progress

    Who doesn't think that there will be a "Face Collage" filter shipping with (or cheaply available for) Photoshop within the next five years?

     

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  66.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Frak?

    I like the idea. There is no law saying you can be the sole owner of a general idea. Anything regarding copyright and patents are supposed to be specific. Just because Close has a 'style' doesn't me nobody else can use it.

    (Note that I understand our patent office is way off base and pretty much does approve patents for general ideas these days, that is however not what they are supposed to be doing)

     

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  67.  
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    Mark Meldola, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Aesthetics

    Blake does not have art. He has a technical gimmick. I have to wonder what level of disrespect for an artist's work you find unacceptable. You are correct in stating that an artist has incomplete control over his work, though. A vandal can stencil over a work by Picasso in a Houston museum and that is acceptable because he is just "building on top of it."? I'm sure the vandal was just paying homage...

     

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  68.  
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    Jason, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Perhaps

    Since Scott Blake doesn't have the war chest to fight this, maybe he can start a kickstarter campaign to get his software creation out there AND win the legal battles he'd need to do that.

     

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  69.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    Who decides what's art and what's a gimmick? Lots of great art has been dismissed for a variety of reasons. Lots of art today is dismissed as a gimmick by one group while being revered by another.

    And, please, let's not be completely ridiculous and compare this to defacing an original painting. In that situation, the original work is irretrievably lost -- nobody is condoning the destruction of one piece of art in order to create another.

     

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  70.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    Entirely possible. For free or for a licensing fee or by a granting the output of the filter if Close doesn't think it's up to his standards some variety of Creative Commons Attribution license, in this case I'd suspect no commercial use and have had Blake put the license widget on a corner of the filtered work along with Close's name and make sure the filter uses a watermark layer as well.

    Close keeps his copyright, which he would have anyway, gains control over the uses of the results of the via the Creative Commons License and takes away any commercial value some twerp might think it has through the watermarks and the use of the NC switch on the CC license.

    There were and still are lots of avenues other than threatening a lawsuit.

    All Close may have done is to have set off the Streisand Effect where the filter, if it's in the wild now, starts getting used again off line before posting the results and suddenly the world is awash with Close works run through the darned thing. Or, now that this has happened, a far superior filter will start making the rounds. One that works in The GIMP, Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. I'd rather that didn't happen but I'd be blind, deaf and dumb if I didn't say that very soon something will surface.

     

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  71.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    We wouldn't all KNOW a lawyer who might advise Close to fire off nastygram after telling him that if he doesn't sue he'll lose both his copyright protection and whatever trademark he might have?

    Does the name Charles Carreon ring any bells? :)

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Mark Meldola, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    I used the worst example (defacement) because I'm hoping to elicit from you just what is the level of disrespect for an an artist's work you would find unacceptable. OK, defacement you would find unacceptable. Anything else?

     

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  73.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What Whine?

    Exactly what I was thinking. :-)

     

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  74.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not that you care because you're too busy whining and being snarky about someone else you think is being whiny and snarky to notice that barcodeart.com has been around a lot longer than just the past couple of weeks. If anything he added a page which, I'm sure is same one he put up on the "infringing" site and Close has seen and approved of what was said there.

    Go have some more whine with your lunch please :)

     

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  75.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    I used the worst example (defacement) because I'm hoping to elicit from you just what is the level of disrespect for an an artist's work you would find unacceptable.

    Let me ask you a question... do you find Mr. Close's transformation of photos into his art pieces disrespectful to the original photographer?

     

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  76.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    This has nothing to do with "respect", and that is not a distinction I make.

    I am opposed to the defacement because it destroys the original. Anything that doesn't impact the original, such as what Blake did here, is fine in my books. Sorry, I have no interest in "respect" for artists - a great deal of art is based on disrespect for things, sometimes artists who came before. I'm not going to stand here and tell artists what is okay and not okay for them to say/make. So if someone wants to print out copies of PIcasso, or of a living working artist's painting that they just released yesterday, and then spraypaint stuff on it and sell it -- I think that's completely fine. Nobody is harmed, even if some people are "disrespected". A rich culture requires the right to disrespect.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Chuck Close

    the guy comes up with a process to make art

    Is there a single component of his process that hadn't been done before by other artists? I'd really like to know
    this.


    Why does it matter who came up with this process?

    17 USC ß 102 - Subject matter of copyright: In general
    (b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

    Copyright doesn't extend to processes. The Copyright Act sez so right there.

    So why does it matter who came up with the process?

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    fuck chuck.

     

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  79.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Chuck Close

    If you've seen a Close work in real life, the fact that it came from a photograph is irrelevant. The fact that it's not a photograph is what makes it art. For starters, Close works tend to be 12 feet tall.

    And I could say the same for Blake's software - it could never be mistaken for a Close work any more than a Close work would be mistaken for the original photo.

    Perhaps the greatest offense Blake did was come up with a lousy url - freechuckcloseart.com

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just record yourself. Play it back. That's what whiny sounds like.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    You don't think that turning something from a unique art medium into McDonalds fast food art doesn't in some ways take away from the original? Moreover, do you not think that respecting the artist's wishes in the area is not perhaps more important than turning the art form into a plastic, 10 minute internet trend?

    Respect is key - clearly something you aren't familiar with.

     

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  82.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    What I think is that the moment any one person or group of people starts deciding what art is good and what art is bad, and what art is allowed to exist, that's a very very bad thing.

    You can try to make it sound trite and obvious by pulling bullshit examples like the Mona Lisa versus a napkin doodle, but we all know that a comparison like that is not where the problem lies. As I said, many great artistic movements were initially dismissed as inferior or stupid. Once you start drawing lines, where do you stop?

    Respect is key - respect for art, not for a particular artist. Humility is also key - the recognition that you have absolutely no right or ability to pass judgement on which art is objectively more valuable.

     

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  83.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I do that all the time. Never been called "whiny" before, sorry.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Chuck Close

    Because then Chuckles there can't easily claim it is derivative or non-literal-copy can he now?

     

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  85.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why do you sound like Cartman?

     

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  86.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Re:

    At least he didn't go directly to lawsuit. That's a positive, I guess.

     

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  87.  
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    Mark Meldola, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    I need to pull out of this thread; I agree respect is key, but I don't have confidence that it is a value shared by those who replied to my original post. I don't think your examples were BS. I love the fight against SOPA, CISPA, and Apple's legal bullying; I have recommended techdirt to like- minded friends favoring innovation and I will continue to do so, but the disrespect to artists is an entirely different and reprehensible position.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    Respect for what?
    The overreaction by some guy who probably don't even understand what it is involved?

    The guy didn't copy his art it made use of his techinique which is not covered by copyrights at all and doesn't require "respect", "permission" or any of the load terms you want to use.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Making a new one

    It really does devalue him as an artist. I mean if I wanted Close to paint me and then noticed that a website can do the same thing in about 30 seconds I probably would go that route. Of course if I was pretentious enough to want Close to paint me then I would probably still want that so I could brag about it and Close doesn't do requests anyway so it is not like this would drive business away.

    Bit it must sting a little bit to know a computer can do in 30 seconds the one thing that made you unique and famous.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    I'm pretty sure that's a little tongue in cheek. 100 years after Close dies this guy will be dead too and therefore beyond any reprisal.

     

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  91.  
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    JMT (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    "Respect is key..."

    Respect is deserved simply becaise you produce art, it is earnt based on what you do and say. It goes well beyond just how talented someone is. Close is only going to lose respect with his actions.

     

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  92.  
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    JMT (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    "...the disrespect to artists is an entirely different and reprehensible position."

    The disrespect shown by some artists is equally reprehensible position to many people. Artists who are concerned about their "career, legacy, children, and livelihood" (Close's words) should consider that before they act in a manner that alienates potential fans and customers. I'm quite certain his actions will lose him more sales than it will gain.

     

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  93.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    "Blake does not have art. He has a technical gimmick."

    Funny that you say that. I personally think that what Close does is the exact definition of a gimmick. I'm sure a LOT of people would agree with me.

    To some, I guess gimmicks are art, but that's ok, since they are entitled to their opinions.

     

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  94.  
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    L.A.B, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Why boycott such a nice guy?

    That is the most ridiculous statement I have heard in awhile. Many artist get paid and live off of licensing. Obviously you do not. Music COSTS to record. Television shows and Movies COST to produce. I was not EVIL the last time I was in the studio recording music. Nor will I be EVIL when I copyright the songs. Nor Will I be EVIL when I license a TV show to use them. And I do expect and deserve to get PAID for it.All of it is based on copyright.

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    he's the original photographer of all of the photos he uses to reproduce, so.

     

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  96.  
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    MP, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:13pm

    Am I the only one?

    Am I the only one bothered by the fact that he cut up Chuck Close's original paintings to make this program? If he isn't a using a gimmick and trying to make a name for himself by using Close's name, wouldn't he have recreated mosaics as well to program this? You can't tell me that he wasn't thinking about the traffic he would get for having that name in his domain address. I think it's almost insulting that he cut up the original artwork on the computer into the squares to program it the way he did. That's what bugs me the most. That's what trivializes it and spits in Close's face. Considering this, I think Close handled it well.

     

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  97.  
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    JMT (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:23pm

    Re: 100 year old software

    I think that's his whole point. The ridiculousness of having to make a 100yo piece of software work highlights the ridiculousness of both the artist's attitude and the copyright system.

     

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  98.  
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    L.A.B, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re: Chuck Close

    Every artist has influences. Those that they have taken from and synthesized into their own style. Whether you find his work innovative or derivative does not lessen the fact the process is linked to him and His name. As such, he has the right to issue a cease and desist. What his initial email was

     

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  99.  
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    Pseudonym, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 6:18pm

    Re:

    You may have missed this detail, where Close lays out his real reason:

    I must fight you because if I know of your project, and do nothing to exercise my legal rights, that will put me in a position where I canít fight the next, even more egregious usage of my copyrighted image and use of my name.


    I don't think Close is "behaving like a scumbag". His central concern is valid. The legal system is so screwed up that Close needs to fight this whether he wants to or not.

    There are certainly faults on both sides; Blake shouldn't, for example, have used Close's name. In Close's mind, this may be the lesser of two evils. It's still evil, but not necessarily scumbag behaviour.

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

    Stencilling over a Picasso original is destroying the work, and thus not a homage. Stencilling over a Picasso print would be a homage though

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Why boycott such a nice guy?

    Sorry, you can't have my money.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re:

    Read the article. What you state is not true. He does not need to fight this, and not fighting it does not dilute his rights. You're thinking of trademark, and it isn't necessarily true there, either.

    So, no, his central concern is not valid.
    Yes, he's behaving like a scumbag.
    And no, Black should not have used Close's name.

    Agreeing with one out of three points isn't bad. Better than most!

     

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  103.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Re: Chuck Who

    I kept seeing a certain pizza mouse, myself.

     

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  104.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So in other words you decided to come HERE to be whiny. Thanks, just what we needed.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Am I the only one?

    I'm really hoping this is just an obvious trolling, and not someone who really believes what they typed....

     

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  106.  
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    flores, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

    as Eddie implied I'm blown away that a person able to profit $7977 in four weeks on the internet. did you look at this site NUTTYRich do t c o m

     

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  107.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:42pm

    Re: Chuck Who

    Thanks for the article. I have no idea who Chuck Close is, nor do I know anything about his art. I do know from his own words that he is a pompous entitled assclown, so I won't be googling his name or looking into his art.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 12:17am

    Re: Am I the only one?

    Yep Andy Warhol was a douche too.

    How dare those people cut something up and make art.
    Collage

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    icon
    drew (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 2:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The point is, he shouldn't need to ask for permission as there's no copyright issue here.
    Permission here was a nicety not a requirement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    icon
    drew (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 3:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Making a new one

    The point is these two things are not in competition. If you've got the cash to be seriously considering getting Close to paint you, then you're probably not interested in a computer generated mosaic. If you haven't got the cash for a genuine Close then, again, you're not in competition.
    It's like the fake vs real Rolex, they're actually serving different markets.
    As long as there's no actual danger of customer confusion, where is the harm?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    icon
    drew (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Frak?

    And once it's in a gallery it's "proper art"...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    icon
    AMusingFool (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 7:01am

    apparently...

    His prospagnosia affected his ability to recognize more than just faces.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    icon
    newsgrist (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 8:45am

    confidence trixter

    There's another side to this story, which is that Blake is actually a creepy profiteer. He verges on stalker. Poor Chuck Close has stepped in shit by engaging this character at all, who now appears to be an underdog in a story about copyright/ownership. When he's not. We're not talking copyright anymore. This one's actually about harassment and self-promotion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for pointing out his site... I love his work and plan to support him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115.  
    identicon
    dennis deems, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Chuck Close

    "...he has the right to issue a cease and desist"

    This is begging the question. What gives him the right you claim for him?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    identicon
    dennis deems, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Chuck Close

    "So why does it matter who came up with the process?"

    It doesn't in the least, but L.A.B. seems to think it does. Both he and Close seem to think the process itself is something that merits special protection. As an artist, I am curious about the process of other artists, and where they come from, but it has no bearing on the controversy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117.  
    identicon
    Scott Blake, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Re: confidence trixter

    OUCH! that hurt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    identicon
    Scott Blake, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    Re: confidence trixter

    @newsgrist The Chuck Close Filter actually cost me money to host it online, and I did not charge people to use it. So I don't understand how you can call me a "profiteer".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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