Did Delia’s Rip Off Andrew Jeffrey Wright?

ajwdelias
At left, Andrew Jeffrey Wright’s x-wave #11, paint on panel; at right, “Heidi Knit Dress” by Delia’s.

For the longest time, artists of the influential Space 1026 collective here in Philadelphia have been dealing with dribs and drabs of their concepts and artwork being subsumed into the world of commerce, sometimes for pay but often, just hijacked by savvy art directors and designers who think they can (and do) get away with what pretty much amounts to the theft of intellectual property. This happens most in the world of fashion — the number of claims that small, independent designers have had their ideas stolen by Urban Outfitters, for instance, are legend — where the legalities are such that ripping people off in this way happen to actually be perfectly legal, barring the use of an obvious trademark. But what happens when fashion rips off visual art? This is what Space 1026 artist Andrew Jeffrey Wright is pondering today. As you can see above, a new piece being sold by young womens’ store Delia’s bears a striking resemblance to a Wright’s “x-wave” series of paintings. (Click on the Delia’s link where there’s other photos and the resemblance is even more striking.) Does Wright have a case? Or is it another instance for Space 1026-ers of imitation being the most sincere — and infuriating — form of flattery?

  • xshredheadx

    I can’t decide if this is a late April Fool’s day joke or what. Seriously AJW, get over it. I doodle stuff like this over my math notebook every day.

  • robot

    You mean copyright, not trademark. And you don’t have to put a copyright symbol next to your art to enforce it. That was an old law that has been changed. If the dress had an exact copy of his print, he might have a case, but prints are different, so I think he is out of luck.

  • http://gideonsbible.tumblr.com annelynn

    Also, no one orders anything from Delia’s except for 15 year old girls, and everyone know that 15 year old girls aren’t smart enough to plagiarize contemporary art.

  • djlynnabraham

    google image search the phrase “chevron stripe” — it’s a classic pattern that both art and fashion use all the time.

  • mahogany

    check out AJW’s x-wave on the cover of this book.
    it’s more similar than the painting at the top.
    http://www.amazon.com/Revisionaries-Decade-Art-Tokion/dp/0810994372

  • mothball

    @ robot

    Ask Shepard Fairey about your interpretation of copyright law. AP would beg to differ, as well. It’s not that cut and dry, nor that inherent.

  • mothball

    Unless you mean literally putting the copyright symbol on your work. That I’d agree with.

  • http://www.phillygrrl.com phillygrrl

    “google image search the phrase “chevron stripe” — it’s a classic pattern that both art and fashion use all the time.”

    My thoughts exactly. I think I had a dress like that as two-year old.

    Come on, this isn’t a story. Now don’t go turning into philly.com, Philebrity!

  • annie

    Or did Wright rip off Missoni? Come on. This is bullshit.

  • http://bostodelphia.blogspot.com C. The Impaler

    Anyone think a suit like this is really just a move to put up Wright/Space 1026′s a bit higher on radar for a few days by threatening and then maybe filing papers? Seriously, while not engaged with that sphere all that much, I had forgotten about their existence until this post.

    Also, anyone think Wright’s X-ray has an obvious focus on the “X” intersection, whereas the dress design seems to me oriented toward “radiating diamond” patters, a la a sort of techno-fractal-tiedye?

  • philatrash

    Choose your friends wisely, Philly hipsters. On this kind of scene, where everyone is attempting to outdo the other so they have more money to blow on Making Time, PBR, and blow itself, rip-offs ain’t no surprise.

    Seriously though, this pattern is extremely common. Just because you’re from Space 1026, which I do love, by the way – doesn’t mean you’re God.

  • goldsounds

    i used to have that pattern on a baja

  • Pitzy LaRue

    As far as I’m concerned it’s not about ownership of a “classic pattern”. AJW doesn’t own a shape. And the sample posted here is either part of a painting or not the variation that was copied. I think it’s a straight rip off and theft. Andrew’s work is available on the internet, apparently for the taking? Ugh.

  • luren

    AJW’s print was clearly ripped off. The revisionaries book is floating around every design office as “inspiration”. Good luck if you engage Delia’s, brother. You should compare square for square, do an overlay of your design, and prove it’s more than just inspiration, that it’s probably got all the quirky misshapes of one of your paintings. Just find the matching one.

  • luren

    Actually, Drop the green and change it to white and it is the same print from the cover of Revisionaries, turned on its side. Carbon copy.

  • http://www.citiesinpixiedust.com citiesinpixiedust

    the rules are so weird on these lawsuits, there is some kind of thing which basically allows you to legally lift someone else’s stuff as inspiration as long as you change a certain percentage of it to “make it your own” … and it’s very hard to prove that another designer knowingly ripped it off vs. was just on some kind of similar cosmic wavelength. which happens more often than you’d think e.g. think about all the people trying to develop the telephone before Alexander Graham Bell got his version to work.

    that said, i think whoever posted the book cover, yeah they look a lot alike. That should have been the one you all used to compare the two. Looks like a ripoff to me.

    also, people have been sued for much less similar-looking things, such as the Rat City Rollergirls getting sued by Starbucks for their two logos having women in them, being round, and being from Seattle.

    http://slog.thestranger.com/2008/05/starbucks_asks_rat_city_rollergirls_to_c

  • http://mcclept.com mcclept

    Oswald the Rabbit was changed by 15% into Mickey Mouse (pulled the tail out replaced ears and nose that’s about it)
    Oswald the Rabbit $0
    Mickey Mouse $ (our childhood souls and lots, lots of money)