Plagiarism in Cartoons and Fine Art

[I edited this for content.]

I visited Brian Bolland ‘s website a bit ago, and found this open letter to the French collage artist Erro. Here’s a quote:

What this is is a kind of colonialism. You, Erró, have found a place for yourself in the land of the Fine Art Elite, in “Gallery-land”, and you have gone out and discovered a dark continent inhabited by pygmies – barely more than savages really – people with a colourful but primitive culture. Like the Victorian explorers you find what they do ghastly but somehow alluring so you steal from them, give them nothing in return and dismiss them. You display bits of their infantile and garish nonsense in what you call a “synthesis” on a gallery wall in the civilised world, something which has nothing whatsoever to do with giving a full and accurate “report” on the stuff you steal or the people you steal it from. It’s more to do with the titillation of your peers. You’d like them to be shocked by the vulgarity of the artefacts you’re bringing back from whatever nasty place you’ve been to but appreciate them (and you, of course) in that post-modern kind of way. One reviewer of your work said “I don’t know where Erró finds all that stuff”. Luckily for you she and other inhabitants of the galleries don’t know the names of the people you steal from and you’re not in a hurry to list them. You’re exploiting people like me, not because you’re a “witness to our time” but because you want to turn the base metal of comics into art gold – and you’d like to have a lucrative career in Gallery-land.



Filed under (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go, Alex Smith, you decide

2 responses to “Plagiarism in Cartoons and Fine Art

  1. Pingback: Plagiarism in Cartoons and Fine Art | | eMega Deals

  2. Hmm… I can see this from both angles. While you seem to have made this a personal accusation, calling him an Asshole – I appreciate Bolland’s work but I also like Erró’s work. Erró has been making intricate collages since the 1960s which is much more than just “adding a sense of irony that most people don’t fully understand”. – I Agree that selling the printed posters was not a good idea, especially after he removed Bolland’s signature from the image. But I don’t think that should take away from the original collage and other works like it. I do a similar thing using old record albums and paperback book covers. – I think back to the work of people like Andy Warhol, Kurt Schwitters and Ray Johnson – Who all used appropriated images to create new works of art. Most of their works wouldn’t hold up to the accusations Shepard Fairey faced. He simply looked at a photograph and made a painting from it. He wasn’t claiming it was his photograph. – As a photographer, collagist and comic book fan. It’s all just a big mess. People need to chill out about copyright law and let artists create without threat of lawsuits. Lawyers have already messed up so much of this world. I say keep them out of the art world. – I’d be interested to know what you think of my works…

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