Some of you might remember that about two weeks ago I posted a story about New York based artist Rob Pruitt ripping off the popular Threadless T-Shirt, When Pandas Attack. The tee was designed AJ Dimarucot and Jimmy Benedict (aka jimiyo), despite this, neither artists received attribution for the design nor did either provide Pruitt with permission to use the design.
Since then, the close knit T-Shirt community has been discussing this hot topic, with one forum thread on the popular T-Shirt site Emptees receiving 300+ posts regarding the topic.
Threadless, a popular Internet based T-Shirt company with a tight knit and vocal community decided to take things into their own hands. A handful of Threadless faithful made their way to Pruitt’s “Pattern and Degradation” gallery in West Village for a silent protest of sorts, with each member decked out in the original When Pandas Attack T-Shirt. Oh, and they also had a huge panda accompanying them. Threadless posted a few photos from the event and promises to share video. And guess what, Pruitt was at the gallery.
“Yesterday in NYC at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Threadless fans and staffers staged a silent attack against the use of a Threadless design, â€œWhen Pandas Attackâ€ (which was originally a collab by Jimiyo and AJ Dimarucot). Rob Pruitt, the artist who allegedly misappropriated the design (to put it kindly) was actually in the gallery at the time, and was completely baffled. Weâ€™re sure the guy sneaking around in a panda suit helped our silent yet powerful cause too! Talk about art creating art creating one very confused â€œartist.â€
Now you’re wondering why Threadless doesn’t just sue Pruitt for copyright infringement. It turns out that since Threadless is crowdsourced, they only keep the rights to the apparel, while the original artists hold the rights to the actual design. So therein lies the problem. AJ Dimarucot, one of the co-designers is based in the Philippines, which makes things quite complicated. he wants to take action, but because he lives so far away, it is difficult for him to do so. And Jimiyo has gone on record as being quite apathetic to the whole situation.
So what to do? Well, first off, we can start by showing Pruitt that he is wrong. If you live in New York:
- Show up to the gallery wearing you When Pandas Attack T-Shirt and ask Pruitt why he ripped off two artists without giving attribution or getting permission.
- If you don’t have a When Pandas Attack T-Shirt, then show up anyway, and question him and/or bug the staff or curators about the situation. Let people know that he ripped off this piece.
- Post about this story on your blog, or better yet, RT this post or link to it on your Facebook page so that when people Google Pruitts name, this and the other posts linked will also show up.
Stealing art is bad, even pandas know that.
Photos via Threadless’ Official Facebook Page.
Threadless today announced their upcoming Bestees 2008 Awards. The grand award, as always, is the Design of the Year award, and with that distinction also comes a prize of $20,000. All 326 designs released by Threadless in 2008 will be up for voting and the design with the most votes will be the big winner. This should be interesting since I would assume that many people would recruit friends and family (as many as they can gather) to vote for their designs.
Design of the Year:Â My pick for Design of the Year would have to go to the Jimiyo vs. AJ Dimarucot mashup,Â When Panda’s Collide. The print on this tee is huge and let’s not forget the star power of the designers involved – both of whom were finalist in the Design By Humans $10,000 contest. However, for some reason, the Monster Mash Collaboration of Horror might do well due to the overwhelming amount of hype this design earned in the blogs throughout the year.
Designer of the Year: I’d give this award to Olly Moss. He continually pumps out awesome designs and has proved not to be a one hit wonder. I’ll also throw fatheed into the mix for this one.
Newcomer of the Year: alexmdc did a great job with Bird Migration, the Threadless Loves Travel winner.Â
Unprinted Designer of the Year (plus a design printed): Not sure because I don’t really follow works in progress and unprinted designs.
Blogger of the Year: ladykat would be my pick – she put together two great contests in 2008 in the Threadless blogs.
Gallery Photographer of the Year: ir0cko, this guys consistently pumps out cool gallery photos. Check out his Flickr if you don’t believe me.Â
Collaboration of the Year: Monsters Collaboration: Monster Mash Collaboration of Horror by Monster Mob. Lots of Threadless designers helped to make this tee and thus it should win. Plus, who doesn’t like monsters! This design has to win one of these awards and it would be most fitting if it won Collaboration of the Year.
If you’re a Jimiyo fan then you might consider picking up his latest design, to be released later today at Tee Fury. As with all Tee Fury tees, you’ll only be able to purchase Hope Phoenix for 24 hours and then it’ll be gone (who knows if Jimiyo will have it reprinted). And, if that’s not enough to get you to pick this tee up then you should not that proceeds will go to charity:
“Proceeds from the sale of this design will go to East Nashville Cooperative Ministry. It is within the community in which I live. Although I find myself to be so calculating that I can rationalize out most charitable donations as being indiscriminate and ineffective, I have actually visited the small building in which ENCM resides and feel that even a small donation would help.
So if you like the design, please consider purchasing the shirt, OR alternatively you can help ENCM by donating to them through their website.” -Jimiyo
Here’s a great and fun little iPhone app that I just discovered while perusing the Threadless forum boards. Developed by Threadless user Ian Marsh (eeenmachine), Threads allows you to easily browse in-stock designs at Threadless straight from the iPhone or iPod Touch.
Not only can you browse Threadless tees, but you can buy tees directly from within the App (ok, this is a stretch, the app forwards you to the Threadless site via Safari). The app also makes use of the accelerometer – you are shown a different tee design every time you shake the phone while the app.
Even cooler, you can save these beautiful designs directly to your iPhone by tapping on the camera icon. Onc you click the camera icon all onscreen menus disappear and your left just with the design. From there you use the screen capture trick and then images are saved to your photo album and can then be used as Wallpaper for your iPhone! Pretty slick little app, I think! The app itself is snappy and works excellently on my first generation iPhone.
Featured Indie Tee Spotlight artist, Jimiyo, finished 4th place in the big $10,000 Design By Humans contest. Not the finish he wanted, but nonetheless, he finished in the top end amongst a handful of very talented artists. Here’s what he had to say on his blog:
“At least it’s a hot looking shirt. One color too.. and they are selling it for $24?Â They are going to be making some good margin on this shirt, as well as, for the $1000 payout to me, I did some massive promotions.Â Was all the work worth it? Not sure. The $1000 is definitely not worth the time investment, but then is having participated and reached the top tier level of the contest worth the time investment? Because theoretically, many new eyes have been exposed to my name and work.Â Still feel Defeated, but elated it’s finally over. Now I can start workin!” – Jimiyo
Only thing left to do now is to go and buy his T-shirt!Â
This is week three of the Indie Tee Spotlight and I have to admit that I have been happy with the success of this particular segment on my blog. I’ve received a bunch of emails from tee brands/designers wanting to be featured here. I appreciate all of the interest and if you sent me an email then you should have gotten a response on how you can be featured here! And if you’re interested please feel free to contact me!
Having said that, I am happy to announce Jimiyo as our featured Indie Designer for this week! Jimiyo is well known within the Indie Tee community and has had much success with his designs. His designs has been featured on Tee Fury, Shirt.Woot, Uneetee, and Design by Humans. More recently, one of Jimiyo’s designs, Fight The Good Fight, was announced as a top 5 finalist in the $10,000 Design by Humans contest.
I was fortunate enough to talk with Jimiyo about his passion, designing tees.Â
Coty: It’s no secret that you’re participating in the Design By Humans ongoing T-Shirt contest. You’ve been making strides within the tee community to up your vote count for the DBH contest (submitted 10 designs to DBH, sent out newsletters to family and friends, posted on social networks like MySpace and have spoken to classes to gain DBH votes). You recently announced your biggest move yet by offering 10 people $100Â each if you win the $10,000 DBH prize. All they have to do is vote and leave a comment on your DBH design. Why does this contest mean so much to you?
Jimiyo: I suppose my main motivation is what the money will buy. It’s not material possessions that I want, its Freedom.Â It would buy me approximately 3 months of guilt free time that I could use to to work on projects I have put on the back burner since there is always some anxiety now about finances since I am freelancing.Â Obviously there are other advantages, like exposure for my freelance career, a nice line to add to the CV, prestige, etc, but all those are secondary.
Coty: One could argue that you are artificially creating votes for yourself or that you are “buying” your votes. What would your response to this be?
Jimiyo: I won’t be offended if people think I have bought votes, because I provided DBH with my best effort art that is obviously indicative of some skill. It would be different if I had submitted a shoddy piece of work and then bought votes.
What is the difference between buying votes with money, and buying the votes with time and effort that I have invested in creating a piece of art that I hope that people like?
In contrast, I have focused at least a decade of my life to refining my craft with great effort and dedication.
$1000 of $10,000 is nothing in comparison, especially when there’s absolutely no risk to me whatsoever. I do not have to expend $1000 if I do not win. I have already expended many hours, many days, daresay many months, creating art, which if you could quantify the experience and skillset I have fostered over the years, is it repulsive to say, I am essentially buying votes with a horrendously large amount of philosophical cash?
1. DBH created this monster prize contest to drive traffic as well as drive a higher quantity and quality of art to their site.
2. By offering money as an incentive, artists promoted themselves and most likely drove a significant amount of users to join the community. Since the artists probably contacted their fan base for votes, fans will be more inclined to purchasing a product to whom they associate.
Essentially, I did just the same. I offered an incentive, for which there is only potential gain, in which the final result is a symbiotic return on each party’s efforts.
As far as “artificial” votes, that wording would imply fraudulent behavior similar to creating fake accounts. That is not the case. With my tactic, Im bringing DBH real people who actually have to sign up to vote and comment. With that, DBH is one major step closer to having a new customer.
Coty: Your shirts have been accepted for print at both shirt.woot and at teefury (have your designs been accepted at Threadless?). Which of these ongoing contest sites do you like the best and why?
Jimiyo: I have not been accepted at Threadless. My best efforts were moderately ignored there. My style doesnt not fit with their market.
I love shirt.woot. They payout $1000+. Joel is fantastic, no, Terrific, to deal with and I truly enjoy the mentality of Wooter consumer base. Their approval is difficult to earn, and thankfully, somehow, I have been able to win a small portion of their acceptance.
TeeFury does not have as big a market as Woot, so although the payout is not as great, there is nothing greater than being able to submit a design I created without catering to a specific market and have it be accepted. With Woot, I do have to take into consideration their market.
Also the advantage of no copyright restrictions at TeeFury has allowed me get the most financially out of my designs.
I can’t say that there’s one I like the best. They are like friends. There are things about each my friends that I hate and love.
Coty: These online tee design contests are very competitive, yet you’ve done pretty well in them. Do you have any suggestions or tips for people considering entering these contests or for those who have entered but have been unsuccessful?
Jimiyo: Beyond making sure you output your best artistic effort, it’s a numbers game. The only reason I am seemingly successful is because I have submitted a significant number of entries to several different contests.
Also, just keep trying to win. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Just do it. Gotta be in it to win it.
I am thoroughly impressed with WanderingBert from Threadless.com. If you look at his profile, I think he was up to about 100 submissions until he won his first Threadless contest. It was through shear tenacity, as well as great art, that he won. Soon after his first printing, they printed several more.
You have to be willing to sacrifice for longterm accomplishments, and be willing to lose, over and over again.
I plan on writing a year end results of my experience in January 09, until then here is a small blog I wrote with tips and information about my experiences with contests so far.
Coty: You’re recent print, The Upgradead, sold 2499 prints and eventually sold out on shirt.woot. Why do you think this print was so successful? What do you think is up with the t-shirt communities obsession with zombies, skulls and guts?
Jimiyo: I studied a bit before creating this design. Shirt.woot.com has a running stock of about 30 designs, which they eliminate 7 of every week with replacements. Some of the longest running designs I noticed were zombie related designs.
Beyond that, as far as the success of the tees, I don’t attribute it to anything more than the sheer traffic that shirt.woot.com is able to harness.Â You offer a moderately entertaining design on a soft, quality American Apparel tee for $10 to 75,000-150,000 views, a 2% close rate isn’t all that impressive.
As far as t-shirt communities being inclined towards a specific topic, I have no idea. I love LOLCatz, some people don’t.
Coty: OK, there are 5 designs left in the running ofr the big DBH $10,000 grand prize. IF you had to choose a design, other than yours to win, which design would it be and why?
Jimiyo: Collision Theory. He is my internet friend. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to really become friends with the other artists.Â Besides, AJ is a stand up guy. It seems people are prone to being more truthful in their identities on the internet, and AJ has always exhibited a kind and amicable persona.
Also, this will sound crazy, but if I am correct, the monetary conversion rate for the Phillipines is incredible. I imagine there would be a greater benefit for AJ to receive the prize money than it would benefit me. I am a single man with only myself to take care of. I believe AJ is a family man.
*Thanks to Jimiyo for taking the time out to have a word with me, it’s very much appreciated! Now, be sure to go to Design by Humans and vote for Jimiyo!