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Peter Voice 07-13-07 07:09 AM

Is it ethical or even just polite
There is a pavement art "festival???" in Sydney that is promoting itself using the works of its participating artists without crediting them for their work and it worries me.

Firstly, it is a pavement art CONTEST, not a festival, that contracts 2 artists each year and then tries to attract entries (last year about 20) to fill the rest of the event. It has advertised for participants here on At last year's event, which I attended as a spectator, I was quite interested to note that hundreds of school children were being invited to attend workshops absolutely identical to workshops conceived by me for Chalk Circle in 1989 and run by a no longer practicing p.artist artist that was a member of of Chalk Circle until 1995. Despite the fact that there are about 15 deserving, practising p.artists in Aust, the same 2 artists are the only ones who have been contracted in 3 years.

This doesn't worry me much but what does piss me off is the emails I get inviting me to participate/enter which contain beautiful artwork by the contestants that are not credited properly. Photos of finished artworks by contestants are regularly used without titles and credits to the artist who created the work.

We all agree to let a festival use a photos of us to to promote the event but there is a distinct difference from a photo of Nick Nickolas or the Moth Head doing his show in front of a great crowd and one of a finished pavement art piece. One is only a grab of the moment and the other is the complete concept encompassing days of work.

Would anyone here accept the use of their work, in its entirety, being widely distributed to promote a so-called festival without even a simple polite credit attached to the promo image?

I would really appreciate opinions.

Rachel Peters 07-13-07 07:34 AM

I think I'd be rubbed the wrong way too, Peter.
I also often get approached with different "contests" which are blatant grabs at getting cheep-to-free work for someone else's project (in this case, a festival) and someone else's gain. I'm very, very weary of the attitude that artists should be grateful for ANY opportunity to be "exposed" and should be willing to give up common rights for the chance. What makes me even sadder is that a lot of young artists ARE.
You, of all people, don't need it, but it's hard to convince young and eager up-and-commers that it's a rip-off. And sometimes I see their eagerness and excitement and don't want to tell them. They're excited.
But at the same time, I don't want the attitude to be accepted and become common practice.
...Have you informed the fest/contest of the crediting issue?

(Yesterday I got an e-mail from an excited peer, about a CBC TV contest, asking for films, docu's, and animation, all for the wonderful opportunity to be AIRED on real TV and possibly win some money, maybe! ...Do you know how much you SHOULD get paid for that??! I'm not going to beg them fill their air time for free!! What the hell?! And to top it off, they couldn't have picked a worse name for the contest to repell me -- "Exposure". ..........)

Non-artists often have no idea how much heart and energy (emotional and physical) goes into our work. I think they'll only know what it's worth if we stand firm by telling them what it's worth. Some will get pissed off, but we don't want to work with them anyway.

And yeah, I'd be irritated if someone put up my work in its entirety, wihtout any mention. It could easily deter me from wanting to work with them again, unless there were some huge incentives.

Peter Voice 07-13-07 07:38 AM

I have brought the issue up at least three times. I even gave the event a fair and favorable review here in another thread despite my reservations. Unfortunately my comments to the producer have been without answers or results and the issue grows.

I have spent 25 years on an art form that had died before I took it up. I've fought cities for our rights, taught and encouraged thousands of artists world-wide but am dismayed by producers who wish to exploit it without even demonstrating simple appreciation and good manners to its practitioners.

There is another part of my brain that keeps saying to me "Is it even legal under Aust. copyright law? Do your homework Peter".

I try to be careful with that bit, it tends to make my lawyer a lot of money.

It's also worth noting that people often die from "exposure".

Rachel Peters 07-13-07 07:39 AM


Butterfly Man 07-13-07 11:50 AM

I ain't igorant ...I'm edjumacated
I think it's like littering ... people are gonna do it no matter what ... it's not that they're stupid ... it's just that they don't know any better.

maybe you should take 'em behind the woodshed ...

Rachel Peters 07-13-07 12:15 PM

I think you should take every one of those young artists out behind the shed and make them smoke each and every last cigarette in the crate, until THEY'VE learned that they're being ripped off and never do it again!

Steven Ragatz 07-13-07 12:51 PM

Yes, I think that you have grounds to be unhappy about having your work misrepresented. However, the ramifications of the actual photos may seem more significant to you than to anyone else.

I don't think your use of images from live performances versus images of a finished art piece pose a different situation. It seems to me that the live creation and precariousness of pavement art is what makes it interesting, not simply the images themselves. If it were all about the actual image, then I would expect you to make framed prints that are covered by copyright laws and practices. Do it once and reproduce it many times. The fact that the artwork is a temporary installation, and that it is created over the course of the event, and is a one-shot event is the important part.

Maybe you can determine the perceived quality of a sidewalk artist from a photograph. I would think that you could no more capture the impact than you can with still imagery of a live juggling or magic show. To the layperson, they all look the same anyway and they will have to make their own judgment when they see the performance live. So what if it isn't my picture in the program, I don't think that diminishes the performance.

Steven Ragatz

Peter Voice 07-13-07 08:23 PM

Just to clarify
I need it to be clear that these people are not using any of my work in the promos and works by the artists that have been contracted have been credited. It is the work of the contestants that is almost always being used without credits. They are not misrepresenting anything either but they are, I believe, short-changing the artists.

As Rachel pointed out, it is the prospect of exposure that is touted by producers of competitions to lure entrants but what value is that exposure when the work is not credited. Surely if the piece is good enough to use in promo material, the artist should receive acknowledgement. Only a handful of the many, many photos on their website have a proper credit.

Considering that the event's regular emails and newsletters go out to many people with direct interests in, crediting the artists could result in genuine work offers and other opportunities.

Butterfly Man 07-14-07 12:19 PM

used juggler for sale

They are not misrepresenting anything either but they are, I believe, short-changing the artists.
With the possible exception of Edmonton and a few other fests influenced by them it has been my experience that the practice of “short changing the artist” is prevalent throughout the street performing festival circuit. Even in Europe I have seen a surprising disregard for artist rights by advertising departments … that seems so strange considering the European community (by and large) seems so respectful of artists … I don’t get it … but I’m glad a few people like Dick Finkle and Shelley Switzer do.

Ullarty 09-19-07 01:21 PM

Chalk the Walk is OK!!!!
In defense of Andi at Chalk The Walk Sydney, it should be noted that all participating artists sign a release which makes it legal for CTW to use their image for promotion. I have additionally asked for a byline on the reproduction of my artworks.. I produce the work as a performance, but I do also claim copyright of the image and create and sell prints of my artwork, so these issues are important to me..
RE: Workshops “absolutely identical” to those conceived by Peter.. Hmm I don’t think Jenny’s done any of those… And myself, at Melbourne CTW I purpose-designed a workshop format to tie in with the theme of Moomba and Art Play, giant animal boomerang. I believe the Aboriginal artist Jaggamarra and another I don’t know designed the blackboard snake in Melbourne, if that’s what you were referring to.. !!!
The festival has run twice. Jenny headlined the first year, I headlined last year. At this years event, Jaggamarra (last years winner), and Jenny will be featured artists. International artists have been invited each year prior, but haven’t been able to attend. Andi recently traveled to LA to visit the Pasadena Fest, to source others. Klaus has also been contracted as a consultant.
The festival is a curated event, and while there MAY be 15 Pavement artists in Australia, not all of those are professional in the field, and the fact is there are only a few who could be described as full time pavement artists. The headliners role is to professionally represent the festival, CTW’s right to chose pro artist/s, who best fits that role in that situation!!!
If being on a mailing list for CTW pisses you off, why not “Unsubscribe”? !!!!
Andi has been involved with pavement artists for many, many years and I don’t think she is out to rip any one off, it is something she’s quite passionate about. She is an artist herself also. My vibe’s been good about her work, all of my dealings with her are professional and rewarding, and furthermore I trust her as a friend.
Most festivals use pictures of their past featured artists to promote themselves. It is also relatively common that festivals and events use pictures of their event performers without a byline, especially in the posters and montage design effects of many promo materials !! Of course we would all like full credit/byline all the time… Graphic designers don’t like messy bylines all over their graphic tho’…. Go and look at our beloved Edmonton Street Fest website, front page.. do you see a byline there?? NO! .. And we all know Shelly is not a rip off artist, she is not unethical, she is not impolite..!!
In the Chalk the Walk printed program booklet, all registered artists are billed with a photo, name and bio of about 100 words. CTW also prints signs (1 x 3 feet approx.!!!!) with the artists name big and bold for the punters and press to read and photograph. (Do you know ANY other Chalk fest that does that???) Sure, in the current web promo, I would like to see bylines for all, but that is soooo rare in Any fest! CTW has the paperwork to make it legal even if they don’t run a byline, many or most contracts at festivals and events do.. If artists don’t want their pictures reproduced, they shouldn’t sign releases, that’s the fact. If artists don’t want their work reproduced, perhaps they shouldn’t work in the public domain where anyone can photograph the work, and publish their own photo. The best way not to die of “over exposure” is to remain secluded on private property, unmonitored and unrecorded by modern devices, and the folkloric device of human memory.
Despite claiming our copyrights to the end result, our legal rights to the copyright of a public art form and it’s execution can unfortunately be perceived a bit of a grey area…. We are performance artists in public space.
Personally, I am flying direct from Massey, Canada to attend Chalk the Walk this Thursday.. As an unpaid, unaccomodated, contesting artist. Not only do I feel it’s a fuckn great festival, it’s a great arty-party, and as a full-time professional screever, it’s my business to be there!
If any of you want to take me behind the shed.. I’ll be kicking and screaming all the way… and I think I may well have a gang of support waiting there !!! Chalk the walk is a premier event and deserves support.. for the good of the artform, and for the good of all!

Mr.Taxi Trix 09-19-07 07:16 PM

Yeah, Peter! Whiner!

I'm conflicted, because I agree with Ulla, but I still want to take her behind the shed.

I do agree with your feelings, though, Peter. I feel very strongly insulted when artists get the proverbial shit end of the stick. I get angry most especially when calls for art charge artists for the privilege of applying. Some are up to 100 bucks, its gross.

But I agree with Ulla: because I find that charging to apply undermines visual artists, I never apply to calls for art that charge.

What you focus on grows.

Peter Voice 09-19-07 10:53 PM

Hey, I stand by my objective and, I might say, posititive review of CTW in the thread. I thought that introducing this event to these forums implied a certain level of endorsement.

My most recent promo email from the event, like the others, is dominated by a beautiful piece of work and an "anonymous" artist who spent some days producing it. Does no-one else here see a simple flaw that would benefit both artist and festival by correcting?

I do believe there is a difference between a 1000th of a second snatch (the capturing of which is another art I believe in) of a performance and a still life photograph containing the complete work of another artist and little else.

The copyright laws are certainly grey here, so now is as good a time as any to try and define them. This is why I put this up for discussion, not the motives of the producer or the quality of the event. It's about trying to get better standards all the time.

Ulla, I'm sure you know I'm hoping you totally kick arse and win but your post is dated Sept 20 and I thought CTW started on Sept 19. The workshops I referred to were the 15 or so Rainbow Serpents spread throughout the site of last year's event. A new idea would have been good.

Taxi, I don't think they charge an entry fee and entrants do get some hospitality. As my review and Ulla says they are trying and Sydney is a tough environment.

Maybe I'm pedantic and should just go away.

Peter Voice 09-20-07 07:05 AM

PS Be careful Karl, Ulla is tougher than she looks.

martin ewen 09-20-07 10:25 PM

She lives with Nick,that's scary tough.

Ullarty 10-18-07 12:58 AM

Peter, It may not have been your intention, but you sounded really negative in your first post here!!! ..And so did other less informed commentators!!!! Yes, you
were being pedantic, but no need to go away, I know you have a deep sense of fairness, but sometimes it sounds so unfair!!!!!!...

All artists were published in the free entertainment newspaper liftout (150,000 copies approx?) with blurb and bylines. Many of us also got TV, news and internet press, and a large name banner on site. Entry is free, we all got Tshirts, hats, a box of 24 pastels, a big breakfast, some lunches, break up party and some beer vouchers for the pub too... All posters name the artist, it seems to me just the page banners on the web are not bylined. I would have liked to have been paid a professional fee of 5G plus royalties, massages and a new Mazda for the job, but decided the fun value out-weighed my usual fee structure.

I posted from Auckland airport, five hours before landing in Sydney, 19 September.

I believe (but not 100% sure) the snake outlines were drawn by some of the volunteers leading school groups in the first year. Sorry.. but to my mind, you are not the inventor of chalky snakes, aka Rainbow Serpents! Many primary schools have snakes and other shapes painted on the ground, and those from CTW two years ago looked more like Patti Thorpes, circa 1990!

Now I could also be pedantic and talk about Peter's recent YouTube video "art by Peter Voice", where there is no naming of other artists, photographers and models!!! Bev, Diana, Ulla, Jenny, David, et al..Tsk tsk tsk... But yes, these little details take a lot longer than the creation of the slideshow itself.. I can nearly understand....

Taxi, I am now in far too fragile a state for visits behind sheds! Martin, if you find Nick and I scary now.. just wait til April!!!....OOOOMG!

Ok all ? so Peace be with you and my friendship too.. And I just remembered...... Happy Birthday Peter!!!!!!!


PN My web has links to ChalkTW, my Sydney Morning Herald slideshow from CTW with Jaggamarra, and my road story/picture report of Massey-Sydney.

Peter Voice 10-18-07 02:03 AM

Firstly, I got an email yesterday announcing the winners from CTW, the photo on top is by the winner, Anton, but if I had not looked elsewhere, I would not know who drew it. The next, and bigger, picture gives no indication of who the artist featured in the photo is. Who is the artist that created that beautiful picture? Neither image has a "Title", let alone a credit.

I'm sure you got the same email.

As to the YouTube video, all the works featured were designed, commissioned and paid for by me and my clients, as were all artists and models. I tried to be very careful but if you think I'm taking undue credit for my some-one else's work, pls point out exactly where and I will remove the piece. Most of the works you, and others, were involved in, were from my point of view, an attempt for all of us to experiment and learn new exciting potentials but they are without doubt my work. Various attitudes make me reluctant to try and put up hundreds of other collaborative works. I'm acutely aware of abuse over my publishing the works I instigated. BTW the Youtube clip is titled "The Art of Peter Voice" but the clip intro is "Chalk Circle's (me again) and Friends" and any-one who follows the link to our site will, as always, find your site on the front page.

YouTube and text can be a difficult relationship and several attemts were made and failed. You also know I've discussed this with Nick and that other solutions are being tried. I don't have cable access and the experiments take time. Should I credit the client, caterer, studio owner, cleaner, paint manufacturer and the guy who laid the floor covering? Every picture on my website credits participating artists and models where appropriate. I'm sorry and saddened that you think that I've short changed you or any-one else.

My birthday is irrelevent to this discussion but it does pose the question of why, at my age, I'd bother to continue to push for our rights when the new wave of artists don't seem to care.

As I said, it's time for me to move on.

MagiCol 01-23-11 04:41 AM

"all participating artists sign a release which makes it legal for CTW to use their image for promotion. I have additionally asked for a byline on the reproduction of my artworks.. I produce the work as a performance, but I do also claim copyright of the image and create and sell prints of my artwork, so these issues are important to me.. "

A performer can provide a contract that they have drawn up ensuring that they get due credit for their work that is photographed by organisers. Contracts are not a case of an organiser/hirer etc. presenting their contract; it should be a negotiable situation with a rejoinder [if needed] by the performer that the performer has his/her requirements as stated in his/her performer's contract.
If the organisers of an event don't like the performer's contract, then don't perform for them.
All this is open to negotiation by both parties.

I'm amazed at how many competitions newspapers, businesses etc run for photographs of beautiful scenes etc and the reward is that 2 or 3 people win a flash camera [costs the newspaper etc. maybe $10,000 all up] and in return all the photographs entered in the competiton become the property and use of the newspaper etc. I would not give away my best photographs like that! Same goes for TV stations who want watchers to send in free news items/videos, just for the idea that the person gets their name mentioned in relation to what they submitted, if at all.
When I offered a photo of a triple rainbow to a TV station, I had my contract that they would have to agree to in order to use the photo. They didn't contact me, so I assume they didn't like my terms and conditions. I was no worse off than if they had used my photo.

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