Boohoo x Artist Rights – An Issue We Should All Be Crying About!

Today’s blog as usual features street art, nothing new there for London Calling Blog, however today’s blog is really about more than just the work of street artists, it’s also about the rights of street artists (and all artists) – specifically the right of the artist to say how their work is used. This blog intends to provoke discussion on where to draw the line between image appropriation and outright theft.
Over the last week you may have seen some adverts for multi-million clothing company Boohoo either online or whilst traveling around London. What is different about this advertising campaign (and probably the only reason the average street art fan would of even noticed these adverts), is that the models are photographed in front of artworks from some 15 artists – 13 of whom painted for us, alongside many other artists for London Calling Blog’s paint jams. The two paint jams were organised as closed events and access to the space on both occasions was facilitated through Artista – an artist we have worked with extensively. Each of these artists are now unwillingly caught up in this advertising campaign for clothing line Boohoo in conjunction with England Footballer Dele – (scheduled to coincide with the upcoming World Cup) These artists WERE NOT ASKED if there intellectual property could be used to promote this line, they were not offered payment to be associated with this corporate brand or product line and neither were they even given the courtesy of having their artwork credited. Instead they have been exploited in a transparent attempt by Boohoo to make their product look trendy at the expense of the artists intellectual property rights. Lets face it the only interesting thing about these adverts are that they feature fantastic artworks which Boohoo have used to give their campaign edge and credibility – if anything this has had the opposite effect!
The campaign’s feature advert (with Dele himself) and containing the artwork of SPZero76 in the background is literally plastered across the entire London Underground network as well as on the Tram network in South East London and these are just the sites we know about! The idea that SpZero76 and all the other artists involved have been denied the opportunity to have a say in how their content is used is insulting, and offensive to all creatives regardless of the media used.
On a personal level we at London Calling Blog are absolutely outraged that the exploited artworks were originally created at our blog’s anniversary jam which was in a private space and an invite only event. We are sad that this has happened when artists and fellow photographers celebrated two years of the blog on the first occasion and came back just for fun the second time. Professionally in running our blog, we have organised some 350 murals in and around London over the last three years and at no point have we considered a property provider or the blog to be the “owner” of any of the artwork produced by any artist under our banner. The Intellectual Property of all art belonging in every instance to the creator responsible – namely the artist, it is that simple. This of course includes the 70 or so artworks organised through us at the Soho paint jams in 2017. We are incapable of understanding why Boohoo and/or the building owners think they have a right to use original artist content in this way?! Street Art is there for the people and should remain so – a movement which is so rooted in rebellion and anti-capitalism is so at odds with the soulless corporate agenda under which it has been used – tarnishing the artwork and potentially the reputation of the artists.
Such blatant disregard for the creatives’ rights need discussing now – this won’t be the last time a massive corporation rips off the individual – artists may be the little guy, in this, but let’s not forget that David slew Goliath! Artists’ rights must be ensured. Not shouting from the rooftops that this behaviour is wrong and this relationship unequal potentially leaves us in a world where we will see more art in adverts then we do on the streets, where creativity counts for nothing, and we languish in a bland increasingly over-homogenized world. We must stand together and say “this is not okay!” When they shout us down, we have to shout louder and have a bigger voice! This issue needs addressing and we very much hope Boohoo will do the right thing and compensate each of the artists for infringing on their rights.
THE STAKES ARE SO HIGH WE IMPLORE OF ALL WHO SEE THIS ARTICLE PLEASE SHARE THIS STORY WITH EVERYONE & ANYWHERE YOU CAN! ARTISTS RIGHTS DO MATTER!
– to be absolutely clear:
NONE OF THE ARTWORKS BELOW WHICH WERE ORGANISED BY US WERE PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH BOOHOO, DELE OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER. NEITHER DID ANY OF THE ARTISTS OR OURSELVES CONSENT THE USE OF THE IMAGES AS PART OF THE CAMPAIGN.

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Artwork featured by SPZero76 and painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace’ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog in Soho displayed in this advert at Angel Underground Station.  

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Artwork featured by SPZero76 and painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace’ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog in Soho displayed in this advert at Angel Underground Station.  

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One of seemingly countless adverts, this time on the tram line.

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‘The Couple That Sprays Together’ by SPZero76 – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Great characters by Lost Souls members Si Mitchell & SPZero76 – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Work by Si Mitchell – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Works by Aspire, Decolife, Tom Blackford, The Real Dill, Si Mitchell & SPZero76 – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Work by Aspire – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Works by Aspire & Jane Mutiny – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Work by Jane Mutiny – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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‘Substance’ by Sr. X  – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Work by Kid Crayon  – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Works by Kid Crayon, Skeleton Cardboard & Dahkoh  – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Smidgen of work by Kid Crayon & work by Skeleton Cardboard – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Work by Skeleton Cardboard – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Work by Olivier Roubieu – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Work by Irony – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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Collaboration work from Skeleton Cardboard & Decolife – painted for the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog.

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‘Nibiru’ by Airborne Mark – painted for the ‘Gimme Shelter’ Paint Jam with support from us London Calling Blog.

You can view this video by Airborne Mark on the making of ‘Nibiru’ the winged fairy in Soho.

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Work by Dahkoh – painted for the ‘Gimme Shelter’ Paint Jam with support from us London Calling Blog.

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Work by Alex Amery – painted for the ‘Gimme Shelter’ Paint Jam with support from us London Calling Blog.

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Works by Gums & Tongue crew Dahkoh, Alex Amery & The Real Dill – Painted for the ‘Gimme Shelter’ Paint Jam with support from us London Calling Blog.

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Work by Artista who painted at the ‘Brokedown Palace‘ Paint Jam celebrating 2 years of London Calling Blog and organised the event with us which has been used in Boohoo’s advertising campaign also without consent, payment or recognition to the artist. Definitely the driving force behind these events, Thank You Artista! 

You can view our blog posts on the ‘Brokedown Palace’ Paint Jam (covered here) and the ‘Gimme Shelter’ Paint Jam (covered here). Both organised by us London Calling Blog. Big up to all who painted.

PLEASE SHARE THIS ANYWHERE YOU CAN! ARTISTS RIGHTS MATTER! THIS CAN NOT BE TOLERATED!

8 comments on “Boohoo x Artist Rights – An Issue We Should All Be Crying About!

  1. Just want to make a view on another spin on this…. Donald Trump, Theresa May, King Jong-Un. Just some of the folks that street artists are happy to take the pi** out of (rightly so most of us will think) but of course they have not been consulted for permission for their image to be painted on walls!!! Street artists also copy brand names in subversive and humours artworks all over the place. The fact that advertising agencies now see street art as a cool way to promote their product is just putting the boot on the other foot!!!!! I’m sure some street artists will get quite a buzz from seeing their artwork plastered around. When street art is left on the street it is there to live, die or evolve….. The control has been released. We might hate that, but street art will always find a way to survive and that above all makes me very happy indeed……. Cheers….. Mitch

    • Hi Mitch hope all is well with you. As for your comments above you are very much missing the point here. For a start there is a major difference between subversion and appropriation. Using for example a famous persons image in your art is not the same as using someones existing artwork and reproducing it, especially with a purely financially driven agenda. We can also guarantee you that none of the artists who have had their Intellectual Property exploited without their knowledge or consent are “getting a kick” as you put it out of their work being plastered around like this when they have no say in the matter and a re maid to appear complicit in such appropriation. Frankly it is insulting that you assume so. When Street Art is left it is there to be viewed & enjoyed and await it’s fate. However control has not been released to the extent with which it has been utilized without any awareness of the artists’ as to who or what they are being associated with.

      • Thank you Steve for taking the time to reply to my comment. I am keeping well abet waiting for a new hip operation, hence not getting around as much to enjoy all the street at in London and a far!!  Always good to see debate and views on the street art scene. As for my comment, I stand 100% on what I wrote. I highly respect all the street artists who bring so much joy to the streets with their artwork, energy and commitment to art. As for the recognition and the use of their artwork without permission, this falls along a grey road in the fact of why it was conceived in he first place and how it could be administered… I have always found the idea of a street artist painting away for hours and hours, only to accept the moment they walk way it can be badly tagged or painted over in an instance hard to get my head around. Should street art be protected one may ask???? So many avenues in the reality of what is morally right or wrong could be explored forever here. Where do you start and where do you stop? Your mention of “Intellectual Property exploited”….Is this really an issue when maybe 99% of the viewing public take no notice of the adverts or backgrounds in context?…… I’m happy with my views but I’m more than happy to offer my apologies to any artists or readers who feel offended… Life is to short in reality to dwell on opinions. May I also take this opportunity to thank you for producing such a fine blog week out with such enthusiasm.   Cheers,,,,,, Mitch    

  2. You have my support, we all attended the paint jams to have fun and celebrate with a great bunch of people. Those who painted weren’t paid, they bought their own cans which they paid for out of their own pockets. Now some fat cat wants to exploit their artwork, why? Surely asking for permission and crediting their names would be a start, then get down to business. It’s the right thing to do, taking is theft, communication costs nothing……

  3. I agree and support you, but what can we do to help?

    Have you written to Boohoo? What was their formal response? Are they refusing to offer any credits or payments to the artists? If so public their response to at least shame them. Is their twitter being bombarded? What actual action is happening that we can get behind?

  4. Hi, first of all thanks for all the posts and the ongoing blog – big fan.

    In general I agree that if a comany uses someone elses art, sculpture or other creative work to support advertising for commercial gain they should be paid. There have been some wins in the USA recently (cohen v. g&m realty,) and ongoing cases in Italy Joseph Tierney vs Moschino that may start to turn the tide.

    On this particular post though you have a slight problem saying “Street Art is there for the people” when actually all this street art is in an unknown location to which I guess “the people” dont have any access ? Perhaps it is time to open the doors of the Brokedown Palace?

  5. I caught a development on Hackney Road a year ago using Dias’ work on Hanbury St as a backdrop advertising the sale of their apartments. I photographed it and left a message to the artist on Twitter but never heard back. wwww.jenikya.com/blog

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