Here is a selection of images I made for a band named Raubtier.
They have experienced moderate success with their swedish industrial hard rock.
I used to work with their promotion and created their graphic materials, logos, copy, homepage and so on and so on. Actually everything except bookings. They were my baby.
Their debut was well received and they quickly became part of the swedish rock cirquit. Their merchandise was very popular and I can only assume that they have received a somewhat steady trickle of income from these.
I have always retained ownership of the art, especially since most of it was done in my own spare time. They were inspiring to work with and I enjoyed creating a mythology around their violent personas. At the time I treated them as brothers since they hail from the same northern area my family comes from. I was happy for their success.
By the time of their second album relations soured. As I perceive it they suffered from hubris and stopped treating me as a respected collaborator and more as a servant. This irked me since I felt they did not understand to what extent I had pushed my work for them, much beyond the meager salary I was receiving, and the slow realisation that their work was no longer driven by artistic vision or creative drive. It was more of the same without reflection or progression. The work suffered as they rejected illustration after illustration.
I felt they had lost track of what was their charm and they were quickly becoming obsolete within themselves.
After finishing their album artwork and those within the folder communications stopped.
From time to time I received emails from their merchandisers who needed the originals resent every time they made a new batch of shirts, jackets, or whatever. Meaning they had sold out previous ones. As mentioned I have the sole rights to my artworks and had an agreement that they could use them as much as they wanted as long as I got copies of the merchandise. Since nobody took upon themselves to make sure I got anything I just let it slide. Just reminding them that the deal was in place.
Album cover for Raubtiers 2nd album. My worst work.
I live as a outsider artist these days. I survive on about 150-200 euro a month. I live in a caravan. It is by choice since I try to live by heart and steer clear of the consumerism that made me a burnout working in advertising. Killed my creativity for years by being used as a producer of art by people who have no understanding of the creative process. Ironic since musicians should be artists as well. But I guess not every artist understands art. They just want to be something.
Rejected 2nd album cover
Anyway, I happened to see that they had released a new album which used my artwork. The kicker being someone had used my original and painted over it. Something I found quite upsetting. So I figured that instead of being angry I would just offer them to purchase the rights to my art and we could live peacefully ever on. Me not feeling used. They not stealing art.
I contacted them and to my suprise did not get a reply from them but their new labelmanager who claimed ownership of my artworks. Utter bullshit of course and I quickly got bogged up in mailconvo with this arrogant prick. Well it's his work to be a prick. The real assholes in this situation is the bandmembers themselves who I had thought were upstanding people. They do sing of bravery and being strong. By now they feel like rapist dregs.
Well... I do own my images and friends keep bugging me to sick lawyers upon them.
I hate lawyers.
I hate greedy people.
I hate undependable people.
I want nothing to do with these assholes anymore.
So I decided that while retaining ownership of all my artwork I will make them public source.
I hereby give free right to reproduce and distribute all Raubtier-related artwork made by me to anybody. Print t-shirts and sell them wherever and whenever you want. Take the logo, replace the name, and let it be used and alterated in whatever purpose you please. It is not theirs.
This blogpost is a legal document authored by the sole owner of portrayed or mentioned images and stipulated rights are indefinite until further notice.
I am a artist and I love artists. I am sick of greedy punks sucking the soul out of every creator. I feel shame for having been involved in promoting dishonest purveyors of confused violenceculture.
Fuck you Raubtier.
Fuck you very fucking much!
Much love. Nobody owns you. Nobody owns your art.
Original 300-600 dpi images and vectorart available on demand.
These are just some of my artwork made within these projects. Granted access to free distribution and reproduction and alterations goes for all my Raubtier-art.
I am not particularly proud of these images and not expecting anyone to find use for them either. This is a exorcism of bad feelings. I am cleaning out the dirt. It is not pettiness or revenge. It is righteousness in the face of wrongness. Bye bye Hulkoff. Bye bye Buffeln. Bad babies.
A transcript of a conversation between me and a moderator of reddits /r/metal subreddit, kaptain_carbon.
I put it here because it elaborates why I am doing this.
I put up a link to this blogpost with the title:
"Steal my Logo!Swedish metalband Raubtier declines to pay dues for my artwork so rather than suing I'm making it free for everyone to use and modify."
Shortly the post was removed and I received this message:
Don't smear your name and reputation with petty bullshit like this. This is post is already deleted. Delete that page and work out your differences with the band rather than trying to stick it to them via the internet.
"I have always retained ownership of the art, especially since most of it was done in my own spare time."
Did the band pay you for these? Was there any formal arrangement? If they paid you, then you did work for them.
"As I perceive it they suffered from hubris and stopped treating me as a respected collaborator and more as a servant. This irked me since I felt they did not understand to what extent I had pushed my work for them, much beyond the meager salary I was receiving, and the slow realisation that their work was no longer driven by artistic vision or creative drive. It was more of the same without reflection or progression. The work suffered as they rejected illustration after illustration. I felt they had lost track of what was their charm and they were quickly becoming obsolete within themselves. After finishing their album artwork and those within the folder communications stopped."
You were paid. You had a bad client then and you have a choice to either not work with them anymore or rearrange the deal. This is seriously one good way not to work with anyone anymore as no band is going to trust you as a designer. If you have problems with consumerism or artwork being changed and modified to someone elses vision don't be a graphic designer. Either that or get to the point that you can be respected. This is not the way to get respect. This sounds childish.
My reply (not yet realised I was talking to a moderator):
Dude... I don't know where you're coming from. This was a close collaboration and not a anonymous client. This is a response to blatant theft and your reply just shows you either just skimmed the text or have a hard on for the band. So while your reply hurts me instinctively, I can easily disregard your opinion which obviously comes from someone who doesn't have experience with creative work or respects the work of others.
Also, as you quoted. I own the art. They borrow it. The work I was paid for was art direction. The art itself is always mine instead of contracting someone else to do it. The client never buys the art. I have not received a penny for the artwork. They knew this. I (as mentioned in the text you didn't bother to comprehend) did most of the art in my spare time. Monetary compensation was meager since their album was produced in employ of a eu-funded musicproject very much driven by idealism with purpose to help establish musicians from northern sweden. Since I worked above and beyond the call of duty I was always quite clear with communicating the fact that I am lending them my artworks. I haven't whined a moment until they started altering my original art, someone else receiving payment for that to boot.
As a kid a big pull of hard rock and metal was the album art. I loved the covers of Iron Maiden, Kiss, and so on. For me this genre has always walked hand in hand with graphic art. I'm maybe silly to think that there should be much respect for the artists that create the iconography of this music and that others might agree. Maybe childish. I don't know. Maybe you're a fucking genious and you're right?
And oh. I'll add a edit since you got me riled up and I'm already being childish. As mentioned in the blog I have tried to contact the band and wasn't responded to by the band, whom I considered friends, but their labelmanager who treated me with hostility and contempt.
Relinquishing the rights for anyone to use a logo, which I feel is quite powerful, was my response instead of suing them which is in my mind the petty low thing to do. I have always had the utmost respect of the metalheadculture which I have thought to be antimaterialistic and antiauthority and based on brotherhood and respect. I have been a illustrator and designer for over 15 years so I am not alien to being used and misrepresented. I do not feel they deserve to use my artwork, but also they are encompassed by the free distribution rights I have given. I only wish someone else will claim it from them so it will be used by someone more deserving. Some band that lives up to the spirit of metal. Fucking sucks you deleted me.
Realising while editing he is a mod I continue:
And woah. Didn't realise you were a mod when replying first so sorry for responding to you as to a random hater. Still your response is very disrespectful towards my work and I think you should have more understanding of my situation. They have given me the silent treatment and treated me as a bitch. As I mentioned in my reply I did give them my all and no money ever came out of their pockets. This was all done for their promotion and success. That is why their recent behaviour hurt me deeply and I find it shameful that they can abuse my work. This is not petty revenge.
This is instead of revenge. I'm trying to stay cool.
Greetings. This whole situation seems very personal and something you need to work out or leave with the band without airing both of your laundries. I have been doing graphic design for some odd years also with bands so my response was just as a cautionary stance for you ever working with future clients. I have had numerous shitty clients who were a headache to deal with but I found that proper paperwork and mid project deadlines alleviated some of the pitfalls. This was of course after doing a bunch of work that went to shit. And even after that I still got screwed out of time and money.
While this blog post may seem heroic and just in some eyes, it looks extremely unprofessional despite who is in the right. It also seems really murky in terms of ownership since there seems to be no paperwork mentioned.
At the end of the day what do you want? Do you want to screw over this band or continue working as artist? Do you want monetary compensation or do you want to be vindicated morally?
I am the last person to be mean to another person on the internet. Look through my (post)history and you can see a litany of unreasonable kindness. This post was deleted becasue it served no functional purpose rather the beginning of an internet brigade which is not supported in here. Your art deserves more respect than to be attached to some band that was shitty to you. Feel free to keep having this conversation here. I of course love talking. Also feel free to stick around for metal music. We have a promote thread every Friday for bands and artists to share their wares if you feel bands would like your work.
Feel free to PM if you have any questions.
Hi again. Thank you for your very reasonable reply and I apologize for lashing out against
you. I will elaborate a bit which I hope is welcome. Much because your levelheaded response and your points that I take to heart and will use as direction in doing some appropriate edits to my blogpost to avoid reactions such as yours.
The thing is that I have quit working as a graphic designer and illustrator. I gave it up much because of the frustrations of meaningless squandering of creativity in the field of oversaturated advertising.
I live in sweden where we have very strong copyright laws protecting makers of creative content. Here a work is protected by law just by making it and signing it. At no point is a artworks ownership traded in any form of transaction unless specifically stated so in contract. The lack of a contract just affirms my legal ownership.
I have been very civil and giving towards this band. At the time of making these artworks I was working as a art director for the mentioned eu-project receiving a salary of 1400euro/month (note: maybe it was 1600). A pittance considering the amount of work I was doing. I didn't mind because I thought it was a worthy cause and if anything I am a softhearted idealist. Raubtier just being one of the projects I was involved in. We produced them and got them going and they have not spent a penny of their own money for any (of my) work. I have always been a goto guy for cheap graphic labor. Well, atleast since I quit advertising back in 2000. Then the art became important.
I talk about hubris in the blogpost. This is a fully accurate description as these already gruff northeners became bullish and arrogant overnight as their first album was well received. The logo, which wasn't even made to be a logo, it was a illustration for their first single they liked so much they wanted to use it as their logotype, became synonymous with them. Their image so to speak.
I have always been very clear with matters of copyright and inform clients of what is what.
Of course I have all communication saved. I always deal in writing since verbal communication solely always has me sitting in the dead of night trying hard to remember what I was supposed to draw, so all my dealings are in writing. There is no grayzone in this matter and I would absolutely be able to sue and get monetary compensation. But idealism.
The stance they have taken against me is dead silence. They know I will not be bothered to contact lawyers. It is not me. Usually when someone burns me I just get bummed and never work with them again. I've been burned a lot. Usually just by being omitted as creator and such. They have been using my artwork for about five years now. Ugly photoshop montages for halfassed covers. I've let it slide.
Last year, or maybe 2013, can't remember too sure, they released a new album which actually had really nice artwork. People thought I made it. Actually it was some other artist who had used my original and painted over it. A clear breach of etiquette both in morale and law among artists.
(sorry if im being repetitive)
At this point I was fed up with them rehashing my stuff over and over again and sent the singer and frontperson a message where I politely asked him if he didn't think it's time to purchase the logo. At the time I would have accepted just about any offer, my work is not about money anymore, but he would not reply. Finally I put up a post about thinking about putting up the rights for sale online since the band didn't seem to be interested in owning it themselves. At that point the manager of their new label mailed me with a very upset letter shouting cease and decist. I took down the post and explained the situation. He claimed ownership and told me to take up any grievances with my previous employer. The employers, no longer funded by eu-grants, had reformed into a different company and had no idea about what was going on. After talking to them I understood that it was the bandmembers themselves who had taken upon themselves to grant ownership to the label as they made the deal. So I went back to bickering with this manager who was really deaf to my story. He just didn't care. As the band he went silent just waiting for me to disappear.
Well yes. I thought of legal action but that is just more of the shit I left behind when moving out into the country to live in my caravan and doing art for the love of it. Still I felt I can not just let them keep making money of my art. I mean they have sold a LOT of merchandise for a swedish band. Merchandise I made without any profit for me, or cost to them. I want to live in peace but this thing has been bothering me. So I just realised that if I let the artworks free I would be free of this insult myself. The logo is far too good to be used unjustly. They certainly do not deserve to make money off me anymore.
Brigading is a strong word. I have no other wish than to just make the art useless for them. Shameful for them. I am a burnout in my field of work. I do some design work and illustrations but only for carefully selected clients since work has become a very hard process thanks to overworking in inhospitable conditions. I am a difficult artist these days working in integrity and solitude. Cheaper than ever since I have no living standards to uphold. Living day to day away from this kind of dishonesty and greed. I do not want their money anymore.
I have no professional image to uphold. I am upholding my love of the art and my life as a artist. I do not care what anybody thinks of me as a professional since I live as a human trying to be humane. It sickens me that anybody is making a profit unjustly on my work. It really does.
Sorry I'm longwinded. You write eloquently and I felt the need to explain myself. It really bothers me that this can be seen as petty revenge. I do not believe in being petty. It is one of the snarky evils that make life hard for so many. Being petty and smallminded. I live with animals and nature. I have said goodbye to society since three years. I live for my art.
It's fucked up but it makes me smile every day.
Thanks for your time.
This actually leads to an interesting discussion on ownership in the design field since there seems not to be a clear answer. I found it interesting that Sweden had such clear protection for artists. I feel this post was more informative of your plight than the original which did come across negative and petty. My apologies for reading it that way but that is probably what others would have thought as well.
If you would like to post this again, we have a general "off topic" discussion thread today that you could broach a discussion on your plight. Most people here are reasonable as well but they do not take well to flaring emotions which I felt the original blogpost was full of. If you wanted to see what others thought of the topic, feel free to post.
Also fair warning the band more falls into hard rock territory than metal but don't let that point distract you. I do not know how you feel personally about their music but that shouldn't be the main point. Again good luck with everything.
Yes indeed. I would actually like to copy/paste our discussion and add it to the blogpost if it's ok with you. Your responses are clear and direct and I think it would give a healthy dose of critical thinking and give air to readers possible reactions to my action.
For me a negative reading was not present as a possibility since it's such a close matter to me. But the realisation that it is easy to read it as a whiny rant from a overtly sensitive manbaby seeking attention is quite sobering. I am not one for censoring myself, or my mistakes, so making our convo a addendum to the blogpost would give it some perspective.
I will remove my reddit username (which I was hesitant to connect with my rl-persona to begin with. I am aware of the risk of backlash from their fans) but will otherwise keep text unaltered removing your username too of course if you don't want to be involved in my thing.
It is a tricky subject, working as both designer and illustrator at the same time. Clients often think they own what they get. I usually just let them use graphics freely since comissioned work hardly ever has any use outside of what it was ordered for. But I always make a point of informing the client of how it works.
I actually feel that if I ever was to start working as a artdirector again it would be with the sole purpose of protecting the work of artists. In all fields of media the working grunts, who actually do the actual product, are being used as simple labor. There is hardly any understanding of the process of creating art. How much a artist puts in of him/herself. We are saturated with creative works and the hard work of the artists is being ignored while the clients get the credit. Most visual artists get drafted into advertising and are quickly chewed up and spat out by a indifferent, uncaring, industry. Making them cynical, halfhearted, and spent. This resulting in a constant bombardment of images and messages in media created without soul or love. Hurting the whole mindset of a populace being fed this bullshit subliminally.
Hah. That came out lofty and spacey. I hope you get my drift.
I thank you for your perspective and very amiable attitude. I would enjoy discussing this further in a public forum, mostly in a attempt to educate people in the workings and pitfalls of doing illustrative art, but my internet is very limited and this whole business with Raubtier is something I want to leave behind as soon as possible. The blogpost being a exorcism of them from my life. I do feel you have helped me in this matter and adding your viewpoints of my "manifest" to the blog will make it better and more accessible to critical thinking.
Thank you very much. It's easy to forget that the internet is also full of intelligent adult views. It all drowns in the chatter. You have brightened my day.
Feel free to use the conversation how ever you see fit. You can remove my username if you want or leave it as this is sort of an online personality but remove it if it makes more sense to the post. Hopefully things get worked out. Good luck.
I'll leave it in. This being a subreddit of some weight and your replies honor you :)
And yes. They are very much traditional hard rock. Metal is what they label themselves.