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WSJ stipple artist claims artist plagiarized work

obama-plagiarism

Wall Street Journal stipple artist Noli Novak is strongly suggesting Spanish artist Jose Maria Cano plagiarized her hedcut of President Obama in a fine art piece that has since been seen in fine art exhibits. Her original hedcut was published May of 2008. According to Rob Tornoe, Cano produced a series of works under the title of “The Wall Street 100” which was exhibited in Prague and the artwork in question has since been gifted to President Obama. Cano maintains that his work is “appropriation.”

She writes:

I want to expose a bold case of plagiarism (?). It’s big not just by the amount of used art, but by the amount of recognition, praise and ka-ching this artist seems to be getting! We are talking major art galleries around the world, museums and auction houses. (This is the FINE ART world we’re talking about here, baby!)

And, what does he do?

He cuts out portraits from papers, blows them up and painstakingly recreates them in wax paraffin … dot by dot. He’s flying under the cover of “newspaper clipping” appropriation, but does that apply in this case? I say no way Jose!

Community Comments

#1 Kelly Ferguson
October/15/2009
@ 10:42 am

And here I am drawing all of my art from scratch like a chump.

I guess all the money in cartoon art really is in plagiarizing. *cough*Todd Goldman*cough*

#2 George Coghill
October/15/2009
@ 10:44 am

Out-and-out theft. Shameful.

#3 Brian Powers
October/15/2009
@ 10:56 am

at least Warhol made his colorful.

#4 Dave Stephens
October/15/2009
@ 11:53 am

Human photocopiers. Ugh.

Put a fine art label on anything someone else makes and POOF! it’s yours.

Weirdly enough, I wonder if the ‘artists’ would have a legal leg to stand on if they had copied photos verbatim rather than stippled drawings?

#5 Phil Tograph
October/15/2009
@ 1:26 pm

This is definitely a case of out right theft, but good luck trying to find a judge who will agree with you. Plus trying to get any financial consideration from this so-called “artist”. It has been said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, but it don’t put a dime in your pocket.

#6 Dan Reynolds
October/15/2009
@ 4:23 pm

Sometimes you have to question these allegations. Ummm…not so here. The original artist, Noli, has made her point (pun intented).
Now the lawyers will cross the t’s and Noli will continue to dot the eyes.

#7 Jamie Smith
October/16/2009
@ 1:15 pm

Unfortunately, Novak probably has no legal claim to her works-under-hire to the WSJ: the “Hedcut” illustrations are all done by staff. But she’s not seeking any compensation, just credit.
Opens up the derivative versus transformative versus appropriation versus plagerism ethical can of fine-art worms.
It’s been done before and been done better, and Cano’s works are as uninspired as the illustrations, nomatter how painstaking the process.
Plus there’s the question as to the illustrations being in turn copies from original source photographs.

#8 Garey Mckee
October/18/2009
@ 4:38 pm

Why is that even fine art? Even the original piece seems a rather pedestrian stipple from a strongly lit photograph. I’d not want to claim ownership of either one.

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