Don’t Steal Art, Dummies

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And now another cautionary tale about plagiarism, heavy metal style.

In a 1996 interview Steve Jobs attributed a quote to Pablo Picasso when he said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. Small problem: Pablo Picasso never said that. And Steve Jobs lived his life like the world was a giant asshole competition and he was gunning for the number one spot. That particular false quote has been manipulated and bastardized an awful long way from when Alfred Tennyson first said, “…great poets imitate and improve, whereas small ones steal and spoil.” So perhaps employ a little nuance in your artistic endeavors instead of living behind the philosophical ideals of a bumper sticker. Which brings us to this, the sordid tale of an artist applying Steve Jobs’ misanthropic logic, not to steal designs from Xerox to sell real expensive computers but instead to sell literal stolen art.

Metal junkies and/or friends of the ‘pod will certainly recognize the name and artwork of Stephen Wilson (Unknown Relic). Last year we had him on our show to talk about the sordid world of art plagiarism. Unfortunately, ol Stephen has been dealing with yet another asshole that found his art on the world wide web and decided it would be a good idea to steal it and sell it as his own. Enter: Rot In Pieces Artwork.

See this album art? Not bad, right? This is Łez padół the upcoming record from Polish black metal band Despised Cruelty. They hired fellow Pole, Rot In Pieces Artwork to design it for them. If you were to believe Rot In Pieces, my man has been up late night #grinding to design this little banger.

Let’s take a closer look at his progress through all these late nights.

Wait. What the fuck? Let’s enhance that first image a bit.

ELL EMM AYY OOOOHHHHHHHHH. Rot In Pieces claimed that this sketch had been sitting in his desk for years, leading him to eventually create the design that you saw earlier above. Somehow, it all went from this Ecce Homo looking shit to a clumsily traced image of a much finer drawing. Can you believe this was the humble beginning to the final product? Of course not. Because our man Stephen Wilson drew the original for Red River Family Fest last year. Here’s Wilson’s work from his portfolio site.

Save for the band name, LITERALLY EVERYTHING that you see in the finished album art for Despised Cruelty has been photoshopped and clumsily arranged from Stephen Wilson’s original drawing. The lil melty faced man was copied + pasted + mirrored + put atop the eclipse from the source work. The balls on this kid!

But as funny as it is that some talentless jabroni tried to pass off his terrible doodles as professional artwork, there are multiple parties injured by this fuckin’ charlatan stealing shit. Stephen Wilson had his art plagiarized and capitalized upon by a scummy thief. Despised Cruelty had their new album tainted by a talentless dick. A record label printed copies of that album, now carrying the stink of a bad actor. The band is now aware of the situation and not very stoked about the situation.

To recap: Stephen Wilson drew something awesome. Some piece of shit took Stephen’s work and signed his own name underneath it. He sold a band that plagiarized artwork. The band then released that album with the stolen artwork through their label. Now everyone knows that some total asshole threw a wrench in the process and pissed everyone off.

A common refrain among artistic circles is, “fake it til you make it”. Combined with the nonsense about, “Great artists steal”, it’s not a stretch to realize that untalented and/or untrained opportunists constantly comb the internet for original pieces to glom onto. Don’t do that shit.

In conclusion: fuck Rot In Pieces. Don’t steal artwork, assholes.

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