A young Canadian Instagram user was arrested for a photo she posted of a piece of street art because they thought she made the piece. Well, if I ever go to Montreal, I guess I should be careful about what I post to my Instagram.
I’m not quite sure what has happened here. First, an artist who goes by the name Edwin painted this piece in Hackney Wick. Now, it looks like this. It seems to me that Sweet Toof went up and added his teeth to the piece as a subtle diss to Edwin for ripping off LennyTheHighRoller, the character that Sweet Toof and Cyclops used to paint back when their Burning Candy crew really dominated Hackney Wick. Yes, lots of street artists paint skulls and graffiti writers paint skulls, but the similarities here, particularly the eyes and given the location, are too much to ignore as mere coincidence. Also, this might be a stretch, but the hands in Edwin’s piece kinda look like Gold Peg’s hands (who also painted with Burning Candy in Hackney Wick and elsewhere).
This film about M. Chat is screening in Philadelphia next week at the Slought Foundation. Strange thing though. The description of the film actually never gives the name of the artist, but M. Chat has a Wikipedia article and a Twitter account and shows work in galleries. Additionally, the Slought Foundation has posted downloadable templates of M. Chat’s work for people to customize and put up on their own. I called up the Slought Foundation and was told that Thoma Vuille, the man who it seems was behind M. Chat, is not involved in the show, although the man I spoke with suggested that the M. Chat logo may have been painted by a collective rather than just one man (like The Toasters collective with one logo and multiple members). So, is this appropriation of an unexplained urban mystery or theft an artist’s creation? I’m not one for strict copyright laws, but it does seem to me like the moral thing to do here would be to at least give some credit to Vuille aka M. Chat rather than pretend that the cat is still a complete mystery.