Opinion

Did Urban Outfitters Steal This Art?

Left, Urban Outfitters tee, right, Cali Killa's stenciled sticker (via urbanoutfitter.com & according2g.com)

“I was really upset this morning when I found out that Urban Outfitters has STOLEN the work of street artist Cali Killa.” — According2g.com

Then again, do we really need ANOTHER reason to hate Urban Outfitters. Coincidentally, the tagline may have also been “found” on another street artist. I spotted a piece in Miami last month that read “Beware Hipsters.”

I’m a bit torn on this issue since I don’t know if an artist who uses public space to display their art (often illegally) has the right to tell someone else they cannot remix their work. In other words, if you remix public space, doesn’t someone have a right to do the same to you even if they make money off of it? If they don’t have that right, then isn’t the artist’s original work simply a form of illegal advertising? And illegal advertising is essentially what Shepard Fairey does nowadays since he goes after people who try to remix the images he himself originally created based on other’s work. I simply don’t understand why my public space — it belongs to all of us — should help sell your brand for free.

In a very related post: Cat Weaver on Huffington Post, “The Panda Appropriations: When Your Panda Is My Medium,” who writes:

And there is a degree of hypocrisy involved when those who “appropriate” seek control over their own art objects and wield a body of lawyers to do so.

Hat tip for According2g link to @artfagcity

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