Above are screenshots from a video I did this morning speaking about the revisited Mavrodi Buck$ and how it is still a work in progress. How I got here ... that's where the story is.
Done 'aint always "done".
It is no secret that the biggest challenge an artist can face is knowing when a piece is done. Well ...maybe it is my biggest challenge, but I know a lot of us share this problem. It is also no secret, that I felt Mavrodi Buck$ was tight, constricted and rendered in the wrong direction. So much so, that I put the piece on hold for showing and have let it sit in my studio for a year.
In New York, I was riding in a car service with a driver from the former Soviet union. The conversation was so good, I had him take the long way and then take it again. It was through this interaction, shared historical knowledge and his own first hand anecdotal experience of the former Soviet Union, that the light bulb went on. Many ideas came to me, but not exactly for the painting.
Weeks later, I decided to finally launch my wearables line and the first new pieces were titled Tra$h Money and Con$piracy. They featured the main Mavrodi character form my painting, with a bold text work up. This treatment, done in Illustrator and rendered for the garment business, opened me up to the obvious answers I was looking for on the painting. I had to take more risks and become loose with the rendering. At least much more loose than it was. In doing so, the painting is starting to ask questions and feel like a complete thought.
Oh yeah... the shirts.
Now we get to an interesting problem. My vendor decided that my likeness of Sergei Mavrodi was rights controlled and refused to print them. For the record, the likeness of a dead, convicted Russian fellon, who printed his own money, with his face on it, is in no way a rights managed image. Several emails later, the vendor made irrational explanations and refused to allow my own creation and likeness of Sergei Mavrodi, to be part of my catalog. In the end, I canceled my deal with them and am searching a new vendor who understands rights management and "public domain". Public domain is not a thing in most countries, so frankly that construct is not even germain to this debate.
I frankly have no idea why the pissing match about this ONE likeness came about. In the final email, their logic was that they can't use any likeness, created by me or not, of foreign nationals, in the public domain or not. I thought that interesting, as EVERY single one of my other designs are my own original likeness of foreign nationals. They have been fine with those for the past 12 months. And in fact, up until yesterday were still offering them to customers. Some people think they are going to steal the images for their own use. I doubt that. Not everything is a conspiracy ...Maybe.
How this one obscure Russian crook gets pulled is beyond me. I imagine they use some semi generic image search tool, looking for potential issues and maybe my image resembles someone else likeness. They probably don't empower individuals in the company to make judgment decisions and the tool is used a some sort of defacto standard so they can avoid potential litigation. Except they don't make any real money, so who would sue them? If you didn't know, it costs a lot of money to launch a lawsuit. Going after a company with high five figures in the bank and no physical assets is a losing battle.
The email explanations offered were infantile and lacking legal basis or knowledge. Their arguments were all over the map. This fact alone told me they were quite ignorant to what they were writing about and because I had very low sales, killing my deal was no big loss. It always comes down to money. But ...why this strange irrational non legal excuse to refuse to print my work of a dead Russian fellon is certainly interesting. They were cool with Idi Amin and Ho Chi Minh, but this guy is rights managed? I don't think so. But I digress.
So Now what?
I actually was not writing this about the wearables, but I guess I went there. I will either make limited hand pulled silk screens, but those will be at a premium, or I will purchase my own DTG printer and make a more cost effective unit. I am still looking for a vendor too, so we will see what develops in time. As for the painting ...In the coming weeks, I will show the new, final, Mavrodi Rebuck$ and share what it takes to be "done" with a creation.