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Sympathy for the Devil

The Story of My Artistic Symbol




 

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

~ Oscar Wilde

 

The idea of imitation being the greatest form of flattery is not always true, especially as an artist. Do I have a story for you; about how another artist went beyond imitating my work and how it helped in the development of my trademark.

 

Anyone who has followed my work knows that while I paint various iconic figures, my love is rock music and the musicians who represent this genre. Even many of my non-rock star pieces have a connection to a rock band or a rock song. In reading this you may be asking: What does my trademark have to do with rock music? What is my logo? What was the inspiration? And maybe most importantly, why did I create one?

 

Setting the Context

 

When I first started painting, I was posting my images on various social platforms. That is one of the benefits of society today, being able to share one’s creative endeavours to a broader audience in order to create name recognition. However, I quickly learned that there are also pitfalls. On one social media platform, another user posted my art, not as a re-post with credit, but as their own. They simply cropped the image, removing my signature which was on the bottom right of the piece, which traditionally is where most artists sign their work. After publicly calling them out, that post was quickly removed. I learned a valuable lesson that day and my continued learning has led me to where I am today. The reality is that the post demonstrated how vulnerable any artist can be to having their work easily used without compensation. Furthermore, it helped to me realize that this post infringed on my intellectual property rights. At this point you may be asking what the hell is intellectual property?




 

Intellectual Property

 

Intellectual property, often referred to as IP, is a crucial aspect of the art world. It protects the creativity and originality of artists, ensuring that their work is not exploited or used without permission. In the modern era, intellectual property rights have become increasingly important, with the rise of digital technologies making it easier than ever for creative works to be copied and distributed without permission. Copyright laws, patents, and trademarks have been established to protect the rights of artists and creators, ensuring that they can benefit from their work and prevent others from profiting off of their ideas.

 

Intellectual property rights have had a profound impact on the art world, providing artists with the legal protections they need to control and monetize their creations. Copyrights allow artists to determine how their work is used and distributed, protecting them from unauthorized reproduction and distribution. Patents and trademarks provide additional protections for artists, ensuring that their inventions and brands are not copied or used without permission.

 

From a positive perspective, intellectual property rights have empowered artists to take control of their work and benefit financially from their creativity. Artists can license their work, sell reproduction rights, and collaborate with others while maintaining ownership and control over their creations. This has allowed artists to earn a living from their art and pursue their passion without fear of exploitation.



 

The Spark of a Concept

 

Trademarks, logos and symbols are synonymous with many brands. As with any industry, the world of music and the bands that make up this world are no different. There is no band logo more famous than the Rolling Stones lips and tongue. No single symbol resonates more in the music industry than Prince’s androgynous symbol. In order to protect my work, I wanted to make my signature part of the art, instead of a name in the bottom right-hand corner of my art, which is the traditional way to sign a piece. As many rock stars are tattooed, which is part of the rock and roll culture, my signature is often used as another tattoo for the artist. However, I did not want to stop there. I wanted a second unique concept to my work – this is where my symbol was born. Rock and Roll was coined “the Devil’s music” in the mid-1950s, as a backlash to this provocative new genre that was counter to the conservative and often religious influences of the time. What better way to pay tribute to the music I love then the "Sign of the "Horns".




 

Raising the Devil

 

One of my inspirations, is artist Trevor “Stickman” Stickle. He utilizes a symbol which is incorporated into each of his works. It got me thinking about doing something similar. I played with various ideas, but I wanted to pay homage to the rock music culture. While the idea of rock music has changed over the years, the rebellious nature of the genre and the influence of artists such as Black Sabbath, Kiss and Alice Cooper have only fed into the notion of rock music as having demonic overtones. Legendary singer Ronnie James Dio was the first to use the "Sign of the Horns", which is actually a sign of good luck, but which further added to the misnomer of rock music being associated with the devil.


Adding to my inspiration, was the play on words of my last name. The concept of being “gored”, is often synonymous with horned animals. The symbolism was too much to pass on. Using the G in my last name, I added horns and a tail, and a devilish trademark was born. Whether this will be the final iteration remains to be seen.

 



An Added Bonus

 

Unlike my signature my symbol may be less obvious and not always a tattoo. I like to think of it as a version of “Where’s Waldo”, minus the red and white striped hat and sweater and glasses. Aside from each piece having a story connected to it, rather than it just being a painting of a musician, it is another way to draw the viewer in and give my work an added layer and experience. Next time you view one of my artworks, I challenge you to find my trademark. Sometimes it is in your face, other times it is less obvious, but I love figuring out where best to embed my symbol in the painting.

 



While at the time I was pretty pissed off about my work being “stolen” and posted by another creative as theirs, it helped educate me as a new artist in the industry. It also led me on this journey to protect my work, which has resulted in what I believe is a unique approach. I hope that I have piqued your interest in the story behind my trademark. I look forward to sharing more of my art journey with you, with a focus on painting and rock and roll through Artist Confidential. If you have topics, you want to learn about, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

 

Thanks for reading. Stay creative! Rock your day with everything that you do!


Cheers,


Al

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