This isn’t a black and white issue.
Let me state something now before I rip this guy apart: I’m all for selling something you own on eBay, artwork included. If you spent, say, $200 on a piece of art and decide to sell it because you don’t have anywhere to put it… well, its your property and you have all the right in the world to sell it unless you and the artist had another deal in place. If you have posters, magazines, etc… nothing and no one should stop you from doing what you want with it.
…well, to some degree.
Enter this man with a wife and a kid. He found a way to keep his family happy and not have to worry too much by making additional income selling stuff on eBay. He’s also taken the extra step of making a unique business where he doesn’t believe that fine art doesn’t belong in books, but on your wall. It really is an interesting idea and concept, and to a degree, to a fairly decent degree, I think he’s in the right.
That is, until you realize what he’s doing.
By simply buying books of art and “carefully” cutting out the pages, he’s started selling framed pieces of art for people to buy. So, let me make this clear: He’s destroying books in order to create framed prints of art by living artists.
Now, on an average selling page, he makes the claim that his $30 prints are cheaper than “buying the originals” that “cost hundreds and then pay hundreds to have them framed.” The main irony is that is really, really, REALLY unlikely in most cases.
The average hand-printed silk screened original poster on eBay goes for around, you guessed it, $20 – $30. Hand-done ORIGINALS.
So, how, exactly, is this a service to anyone? How is this even legal, you ask?
There are a few people doing this on eBay, and they are routinely found out by people on GigPosters.com for the jerks they are. Essentially, he’s destroying his own books that he owns and selling them online. It’s clearly labeled that it is ripped from a book, and not an original print. He’s not doing anything illegal… but it doesn’t mean hes not doing anything wrong.
On a moral level, this is disgusting and terrible, and is on a lot of the same line as simple art theft, plain and true.
It’s disturbing how he justifies this:
“I OFFER A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO OVER-PRICED S/N ORIGINALS, FRAMED TOO. SOME MAY FROWN ON THE IDEA AND THINK I’M RIPPING OFF THE ARTISTS. BUT MY BUYERS ARE SMART, IF THEY WANTED TO USE A CAR PAYMENT TO BUY A POSTER, THEY WOULD. INSTEAD THEY CAN USE A CAR PAYMENT TO BUY 10 OF MY FRAMED PIECES AND DECORATE THEIR WHOLE HOUSE OR APARTMENT.”
So I guess some people may say, “Well, they make so much off the art itself and the prints, what’s a few bucks here and there away from them?”
Trust me, this isn’t about the cash. Some people make a good living doing nothing but gig posters, but the vast majority of us don’t and do it either out of love of the music, the art, as a sort of hobby, or are just trying to get out feet wet. For me, its the love of the music, of creating a piece of art to help a band I enjoy get some promotion, of someone out there loving my art enough to want it on their wall, that drives me.
Do sleazeballs like these help? Not really. Yes, you may be getting a piece of art on your wall, but at what price? Couldn’t you have bought a print for the same price at a higher quality from the original artist?