Thursday, November 04, 2021

An art gallery couldn’t get this artist’s permission to use her most famous piece. It used it anyway.

Image from Hallie Bateman's Instagram.

It's always gratifying when someone, some business, would like your art. In this case, a Belgian art gallery Stichting Ijsberg asked artist Hallie Bateman if they could use her art. She didn't agree. And then, as this Fast Company magazine article, states, "she was surprised to learn that it had purchased a print and used it to promote a show" 


"The piece in question is It’s a Miracle We Ever Met. In it, a bunch of people and one dog, all drawn in Bateman’s deceptively rudimentary style, are each walking off on their own separate trajectories, trailed by primary color vector lines. Love’s triumph over randomness, eloquently evoked.

"Given that the gallery’s show is about various types of connections people make in life, including—ironically, it now seems—those between people and artists, It’s a Miracle makes an ideal avatar for the show. But the Belgian gallery is far from the first to make that connection between Bateman’s art and their own thing.

"'A lot of people reach out to me about this drawing and want to use it for their album cover or their podcast art or their book cover,' says the artist, whose latest book is Directions. 'But I’ve never licensed it to anyone. It’s my work. There’s stuff you make for the job and there’s stuff you make that’s yours. And I’m not about to turn my stuff into just shit to license.'

It’s a Miracle We Ever Met is Bateman’s most well-known piece—and also her most stolen. Deepak Chopra’s namesake center, for instance, has used it without permission before, like a spiritual FuckJerry, and so have other Instagram and Pinterest accounts with large followings."

Theft of images is a common thing. Usually, when my own images are taken, it's not for profit. Most of the time, someone just likes the cartoon I drew. Like when Itzhak Perlman posted my cartoon on his Twitter account.

"'It’s just so odd that you can love a piece of art so much and give absolutely negative shits about who made it and just treat it like it’s a leaf that fell from a tree or something,' Bateman says.

The gallery has maintained that it's given credit to her for the work, but, as Ms. Bateman states:

"The credit is not the issue; Consent is the issue. I said no, and no means no."

Read the entire Fast Company article here.

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