Saturday, May 10, 2008
Recently, I was approached by a gallery that wanted to produce a series of prints of my early paintings. It's an idea I've thought about but if I were to do prints, I'd want them to be well made, in a very limited edition, perhaps with each one hand-painted. This gallery suggested the opposite – cheap giclée reproductions in enormous editions of 300. In other words, my paintings would be photographed then printed on a common inkjet printer. The idea of this was almost as offensive as the deal the gallery offered: no money, just 50 artist proofs (as if I couldn't print them myself on the very high-end digital printers I have in both my studios!).I said no (doh!). I also reminded the gallery's 'go-between' that I retain the copyright for all my images. Copyright protects my right to decide how my work is reproduced and used. I license my work under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License – that is, I allow people to share, copy and distribute my work – as long as it's attributed to me, not used for commercial purposes, and not altered in any way. My images on my website are available to other sites and I don't charge reproduction fees when my work is printed in magazines, newspapers, 'zines, and elsewhere. If someone wants to tattoo my art on their skin or print out a signed image and iron it onto a t-shirt, that's cool with me, too. However, the freedom I offer to share my images does not mean I'm easy-going when it comes to protecting my commercial rights. I care about the work I sell and if shitty reproductions were offered for sale – necessarily without my consent – my lawyers would to take the matter straight to court.