Miami street artist sues American
Eagle over ad campaign
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[July 29, 2014]
By Andrew Chung
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fearing a
reputation as a corporate sellout, a rising star in Miami’s art
scene is suing American Eagle Outfitters alleging it used his work
in a global advertising campaign without permission.
David Anasagasti, a street graffiti artist better known as
“Ahol Sniffs Glue,” has filed a lawsuit in New York federal
court accusing American Eagle of stealing two copyrighted images
depicting what he’s best known for, rows and rows of eyes that
appear half asleep.
Anasagasti claimed in the little-noticed suit filed last week
that the teen apparel maker used the art in its stores, on the
Internet and on huge billboards without his permission.
“Given that he hails from the counter-culture world of
underground street artists, Mr. Anasagasti's reputation as an
artist has been founded, in part, on a public perception that
(he) doesn’t ‘sell out’ to large corporate interests,” the
Attorneys for American Eagle could not be reached for comment.
Although the copyrights were registered after American Eagle
launched its advertising campaign, the artist is suing for
unspecified damages and the profits from the infringement.
"Ahol is not painting for a corporation," his agent, Gregg
Shienbaum said. "He’s painting because he loves it.”
Anasagasti was named recently as Miami's best street artist by
the weekly Miami New Times. His drowsy eyes can be seen around
Miami, including in the famous Wynwood art district.
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The suit claimed that American Eagle brought models to Wynwood for a
photo shoot, and that the work was then used in a wide array of
advertising in several countries last spring. It also said the
retailer recreated the eyes for a grand opening in Colombia and
affixed its corporate logo on top.
Shienbaum said the eyes are decidedly anti-corporate.
“They represent the working class, who struggle and are good
people,” he explained. "They may look a little droopy, a little sad,
but it's his way of saying, 'You may be down today, but you've got
to keep going.'"
The case is David Anasagasti v. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York. Case No. 14-cv-05618.
(Reporting By Andrew Chung; Editing by Ted Botha and Cynthia
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