Appropriation Artist Makes Paintings Out Of WSJ Stipple Images... Pisses Off Stipple Artist

from the brewing-legal-battle? dept

If you're sitting around waiting for the Shepard Fairey lawsuit to move forward, here's another brewing situation to follow. As you probably know, the Wall Street Journal is famous for its "stipple" illustrations of various newsmakers -- in fact, some people consider it to be quite an accomplishment in life to be memorialized in a WSJ stipple image. Appropriation artist Jose Maria Cano obviously recognizes this and has created a series of paintings called the Wall Street 100 -- made up of large painted versions of the WSJ's stipple images. There's no effort, whatsoever, to disguise this. In fact, the painting even include snippets of text around the images:
The fact that the collection of images is called the Wall Street 100 might be another tipoff. And yet... the WSJ stipple artist who created the original Obama stipple that was used for the image above is pretty upset about all of this, and says that the Wall Street Journal legal team "is on top of this case." If this actually turns into a lawsuit, there's probably a much stronger copyright claim here than in the Shepard Fairey case, but again, I'm left wondering what good this would do. The complaint from the original artist, Noli Novak, isn't about money (she doesn't even own the rights to the images), but about Cano getting credit for her artwork -- even though it's pretty clear that Cano's work was simply making paintings out of the WSJ images. Cano seems to be doing standard appropriation art, taking something from elsewhere and turning it into "artwork." While you can understand why Novak might be offended, it's difficult to see what sort of "loss" there is here that's worth being concerned about. Why not just be happy that someone decided the little stipple drawings were worthy of being ripped from the newsprint and turned into serious art?

Filed Under: appropriation art, jose maria cano, noli novak, shepard fairey, stipple art, wall street journal
Companies: news corp.

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  1. identicon
    Jaxkat, 17 Oct 2009 @ 6:36pm

    We contain multitudes

    This has been the talk of the art town in Jacksonville recently, where Novak and her husband, who's a self employed screen printer have a house and live part time. They also have have a condo in NYC and a house in Croatia so the Wall Street Journal must pay their staff illustrators pretty well in return for owning the rights to their work and not giving them an illo credit anywhere in the paper.

    The hypocrisy of this woman's complaint stinks to high heaven. The last couple of years she and her husband have been trying to make a name for themselves as street artists under the cool as shizzit name URBISMUS. All caps. Very important.

    Hey look they have a blog too:

    These two have been illegally plastering buildings all over downtown Jacksonville with large photoshopped images snagged form a variety of photographs. Now I might not be the smarted tool in the shed, but judging by the range of subject matter and the style of the photos a lot of them look like they were originally professionally shot stock type images.

    I guess that since Novak and her husband have been only pasting these up on properties that they don't own but not trying to make a buck off them then there's no need to credit the original photographers.

    Oh, snap! I almost forgot. They have had gallery shows where they've put their work for up for sale.

    Bzzzzzt next. Higher Moral Ground Fail.

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