ART:I:CURATE emails

Contents:

The ‘postcard’ emails
The Kickstarter email
ART:I:CURATE’s response

………………………………………………………………………………………………

THE ‘POSTCARD’ EMAILS
(June / July 2013)

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Ontic Order II
Date: 3 June 2013 13:26:18 GMT

Hi Luke,

[…] I would like to tell you that your artwork Ontic Order II was very popular amongst the members of our platform. We were thinking of printing a few postcards with it, for some of our special members (free of charge, as a thank you). We would of course put your name and details on the back of the card and also print some extra ones for you.

Is this something you would consider? We’d be printing around 50.

Let me know. […]

Speak soon,
Nur

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 3 June 2013 13:40:20 GMT

Hi Nur,

Great to hear it’s proving popular.  I’m perfectly happy with a postcard being made – we just need to take care with the print quality, since red is quite difficult to print in CMYK in my experience(!).

Will the postcard be of just the image, or of the framed picture? Let me know if you’d like me to send over a better quality version, and which format you prefer.

All the best,
Luke

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 3 June 2013 13:44:45 GMT

Fantastic, thank you Luke!

We haven’t decided yet on how to print them – what would you suggest?
Yes, if you could send a high resolution image in order to avoid bad print quality it would be great!

If we print 10 for yourself that’s ok with you?

Thanks a lot and speak soon,
Nur

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 10 July 2013 17:52:01 GMT

Hi Luke,

[…] Unfortunately we haven’t managed to do the printing yet and I was wondering if you could resend me the image in 7012px in height?

Thank you and speak soon,
Nur

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 11 July 2013 11:38:00 GMT

Hi Nur,

[…] I’m not sure why you think you would need such a massive 7012px file, as this is almost what I print the full size 90cm print at…! The 3000 pixel version I sent you will be more than enough to print at any size up to 20cm (so will suit a postcard just fine).

I hope this makes sense?

All the best,
Luke

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 11 July 2013 08:50:43 GMT

Hi Luke,

I just double checked with the guys and that’s the dimensions they are asking for. I had forwarded them the original image you sent.
If you could manage to send over the file it would be great.

Thanks a lot,
Nur

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 11 July 2013 09:45:40 GMT

Hi Nur,

They do know that it’s a postcard and not a poster you want printing? 7012px would be for a 60cm print at standard 300dpi resolution.
If so, I’m somewhat baffled (I’ve printed a lot of postcards in my time, and it sounds like something’s gone awry if they’re asking for a file that big…)

Anyhow, I’m afraid I don’t actually have a larger version immediately to hand, since I haven’t yet produced the work at full scale. I could spend the time to make one, but as I’m a bit short of time today, please could you double check that they know what they’re doing first, as it sounds like there’s been some sort of miscommunication here (or some technical detail they can perhaps enlighten me about?!).

All the best,
Luke

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 11 July 2013 11:30:12 GMT

Luke,

Sorry to bother you again – the problem is that it was a CMYK file you sent, while they need it in RGB.
Could you send it to us in RGB instead?

Thanks a lot and sorry for the confusion.

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Ontic Order II
Date: 11 July 2013 11:38:00 GMT

Ah, no problem. Here’s a 3000px RGB version (although I’ve never come across a postcard printer before that hasn’t insisted on CMYK. Very strange…!)

Luke

………………………………………………………………………………………………

THE KICKSTARTER EMAIL
(May 2013)

From: xxxxx@articurate.net
To: Christos <xxxxx@hotmail.com>
CC:  Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>, Irina Turcan <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Kickstarter Reward
Date: 24 May 2013 17:00:37 GMT

Dear Christos,

Thanks again for supporting our Kickstarter campaign!
We are now in the process of preparing your A2 print and would like to give you the option to choose from the following artworks:

  • Option 1: Julie Rafalski, Dear Marcel V, 2013
  • Option 2: Kamila Musilova, Grandfather, 2012
  • Option 3: Luke Turner, The Ontic Order II, 2013

In case we do not hear from you within the next 5 days, we will choose a print for you (surprises are never a bad idea).
We will contact you shortly regarding your book and sketch.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Your ART:I:CURATE Team.

Ontic_Order_2

………………………………………………………………………………………………

ART:I:CURATE’S RESPONSE
(November / December 2013)

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 16 November 2013 15:26:33 GMT

Luke,

As per our phone conversation, this is an unfortunate misunderstanding – on many levels – judging from your email. I will call you to give you a clear and transparent picture on the situation.

Best,
Nur

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 16 November 2013 16:28:09 GMT

Dear Nur,

Thank you for your email, but there is no misunderstanding. Indeed, in your previous phone call you informed me that a member of your staff was responsible for this, and that you were aware of it, and you admitted that you should not have passed it.

As per your email of 3rd June 2013, the agreement was that you would produce around 50 postcards to be sent free of charge to your members.

It has come to my attention that you have been selling A2 prints of my artworks as part of a Kickstarter package, advertised as a “Special edition A2 art print”.

I have taken advice on this matter, and it is clear that this constitutes:

a) A breach of copyright.
b) Passing off — Passing off these prints as authentic, special edition artworks, produced by me.
c) Damage to my reputation, due to the inferior quality and below market valuation of these prints.
d) Loss of profits, present and future as a result of this.

My current prices are xxxxx per art print, and you have been selling these reproductions as part of a package priced at between £75 and £1000, which damages the future value of my artworks, as well as denying me direct income from the reproductions that have been sold by you.

Please send me the details I have requested without delay, so that I can assess the damage done and the means of rectifying the situation:

a) Clarification of what, and how many of these unauthorised prints have been sold.
b) The names and email addresses of all those people who have received these prints.
c) Clarification of how many have been printed in total.
d) Confirmation that no more of these prints will be sold by you, or advertised in any way.
e) Confirmation that you will deliver all remaining prints to me at xxxxx, xxxxx xxxxx, London.

I await your substantive reply.

Kind regards,
Luke

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 17 November 2013 23:43:26 GMT

Dear Luke,

Thank you for your email.

As per our phone conversation on November 12th, following our brief email exchange on November 11th, I would like to confirm the following:

a) Kickstarter Terms

“Backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not to profit financially. Instead, project creators offer rewards to thank backers for their support.” You can read more about it here http://www.kickstarter.com/help/guidelines?ref=footer

It is vital for you to understand that there has been no sale, invoicing or transaction in any relation to your work and there has been no breach of contract on our end.

b) Terms between Luke Turner and D-Arte Ltd
Through the consignment agreement entered between you and our company on 21.06.2013 you have appointed us as an agent for your works. Article 12 of our agreement states, that we shall undertake promotional activities on your behalf in order to promote your work.

As an appointed agent, it is not in our interest to damage the value of your work, in fact it is in our interest to promote it. Based on this understanding of our agreement, we acted in good faith and were planning to gift relevant people of our network with an image of your work, increasing visibility and value of your work.

c) Conclusion

A few prints were made, and are currently in my possession. To my knowledge, only Christos has received this reward last week. As discussed on the phone on November 12th, I am happy not to use the remaining prints as promotional gifts to  backers and ship them to your address as requested in your previous email.

I would appreciate if you could further clarify how this is in any way affecting or damaging your reputation as an artist or how this affects loss of profits both of present and future, since again no transactions has been made and it was actually a cost to the company to produce these materials.

Awaiting your kind reply,
Nur

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 20 November 2013 16:25:57 GMT

Dear Nur,

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately your response is completely unsatisfactory.

You have failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. Your actions constitute a clear infringement of my copyright that is entirely beyond the terms of our consignment agreement.

The files that I provided you with in June and July were solely and unambiguously for the purposes of printing 50 postcards to be sent free of charge to your members.

I now have irrefutable evidence that you did not act in good faith at this time, and that you misled me about your intentions when you requested the image file from me. By that time, articurate had already offered at least one Kickstarter backer a “Special edition A2 art print”, purportedly made by me, entirely without my knowledge. Your use of my image plainly constitutes a contravention of copyright law, and you were clearly passing off these prints as genuine works by me.

The “Special edition A2 art print” was indeed advertised and offered as a “reward” for a Kickstarter payment of between £75 and £1000. Your argument that this does not constitute a transaction of any sort is plainly disingenuous.

The terms of Kickstarter clearly state that: “Projects cannot resell items or offer rewards not produced by the project or its creator.” As you are in clear breach of these terms, I fully intend to notify Kickstarter of your actions. By my calculations, payments via Kickstarter through packages that explicitly offer “Special Edition Art Prints” total at least £9,825 up to 11.11.13— although I obviously await full clarification from Kickstarter as to these figures.

I now have one of these prints in my possession, and I am horrified to see that it is a professional looking print on heavyweight fine art type paper, which leaves absolutely no doubt that this is an attempt to pass off the print as a genuine work of mine.

You have also not satisfactorily answered all the questions from my previous email. I will restate what I require here:

a) Clarification of exactly how many of these unauthorised prints have been sold.
b) The names and email addresses of all those people who have received these prints.
c) Clarification of precisely how many have been printed in total.
d) Confirmation that no more of these prints will be sold by you, or advertised in any way.
e) Delivery of all remaining prints to me at xxxxx, xxxxx xxxxx, London.

In addition, I also need you to also provide me with the name and contact details of the printers who produced these prints.

Every single print you have made is a serious violation of copyright, and so I will go to every effort to ensure that each and every one of these is accounted for and returned to me. It is obviously extremely damaging for these unauthorised prints (which are essentially ‘fakes’) to be in circulation.

I fully intend to explore my options further to attempt to repair the damage caused as outlined in my previous email, and to make sure that I alert my fellow artists, curators and collectors of the facts of this matter so that they might form their own judgement.

I await the details I have requested without delay.

Your sincerely,
Luke

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 25 November 2013 13:12:19 GMT

Luke,

Let me reiterate the following facts:

1. There has been no sale, no transaction, no invoice of any kind from Articurate related to any of your works.

2. The print you are in posession of is not a “A2 limited edition print”. It does not have numbering.

3. Our company produces printed materials of all types and sizes for promotional purposes.

4. It is our mandate to promote the work of artists on our platform, including yours, by the consignment agreement you signed with us, in June 2013.

5. The print in your possession clearly identifies the print as ‘Copyright Luke Turner’, which follows all requirements signed by your in both the Copyright consent form and consignment agreement dated June 2013.

6. We have already confirmed that 1 person has received the print. All others are in my possession. We did not distribute your work to anyone else (see email sent to you on November 17th, 2013).

7. We will not be able to disclose you any client or partner contact details. We have an obligation of confidentiality to our clients.

8. As we have already confirmed to you in written as well as on our phone call (November 12th, 2013), we acknowledge your concerns and we will deliver to you the 4 prints in our possession upon our return to the UK. You verbally agreed on the same conversation that no harm was made, and that our purpose was of pure promotional nature.

9. We believe we can both agree that this is not the foundation of a collaboration, and that our consignment agreement ends as of today, November 25th, 2013. Consequently, you will be removed from our platform.

10. We reserve the right to pursue any damange to our reputation, should false information be given to our network of backers, members, artists or collectors.

Very best,
Nur

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 28 November 2013 15:34:23 GMT

Dear Nur,

Again, your reply is entirely unsatisfactory, and in my opinion shows an extreme lack of professionalism.

1. The fact of the matter is that you were supplying these as a “Special edition A2 art print” as part of a package offered in exchange for Kickstarter funding.

2. As you should be well aware, I have never mentioned limited edition prints in my correspondence with you. I have consistently referred to these articles as a “Special edition A2 art print”, exactly as you advertised on your Kickstarter page. I view your attempt to confuse the issue here as further evidence of you being disingenuous.

3. The fact that these were being advertised as a “Special edition A2 art print” plainly demonstrates that they were being passed off as genuine, authorised art prints produced by me. The fact that Christos clearly believed that he had acquired one of my prints (which I have in writing) attests to this. I had no knowledge whatsoever of the existence of these prints, or your intent to produce them, before I was alerted by Christos.

4. You had absolutely no right to either produce these art prints, or to offer them to anyone, whether as part of any transaction or as a gift.

5. The image file I supplied to you was explicitly and unambiguously for the sole purpose of producing a postcard, and was not part of the consignment agreement. Our email correspondence attests to this.

6. The fact that you had already offered these prints before you requested the postcard image file from me, and the fact that you requested a 7012px file at this later stage (exactly the size needed to make an A2 print at 300dpi), is evidence that you deliberately misled me about your reason for requesting the file, despite my thorough questioning of you, and all your assurances.

7. With regard to our phone call of 12.11.13, I did not agree that no harm was made. I was unaware of the full extent of this issue at that stage, and you were not forthcoming with all the facts of the matter.

8. Your use of ‘Copyright Luke Turner’ on the unauthorised prints does not in any way legitimise your unauthorised reproduction of my image.

9. Your actions constitute a clear infringement of my copyright and a breach of trust.

10. The fact that you mention in your email of 25.11.13 your company’s production of “printed materials of all types and sizes” rings more alarm bells. Please confirm whether or not you have produced any other prints using my copyrighted material – for example, the “Special edition A3 art print” that was also offered on your Kickstarter page.

11. It is perfectly reasonable for me to request the contact details of the printer involved, as it is only fair that I know where these unauthorised pieces have been printed, and to ensure that no more will or have been made. I view your failure to furnish me with these details as yet further evidence of your uncooperative attitude.

12. It is clear that the facts of your actions and your attitude may indeed damage your reputation. I fully intend to make these facts public knowledge, as it is in the public interest. Let me make it perfectly clear that I have absolutely no intention of giving out any false information. I believe that the facts speak for themselves.

Yours sincerely,
Luke

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 5 December 2013 14:11:07 GMT

Dear Nur,

I have now received the 4 prints from you.

I am now in communication with Kickstarter, and have requested that they contact all the people who backed your Kickstarter project. I will thus be able to ascertain exactly how many people received unauthorised art prints of my work from you.

I note that you have already stated unequivocally that only one person (Christos) received the A2 print.

Please confirm whether or not you have produced any other prints using my copyrighted material – for example, the “Special edition A3 art print” that was also offered on your Kickstarter page.

Please confirm these facts by the end of this week. I will view your failure to do so as indication that you are hiding all the facts from me.

Yours sincerely,
Luke

From: Nur Elektra El Shami <xxxxx@articurate.net>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 8 December 2013 19:43:24 GMT

Luke,

I acknowledge the receipt of your email.

We believe we have already answered all your questions. Moreover, the prints produced have been returned to you, including the one which was sent externally.

Therefore, we believe there is no need to take this communication further.

Best regards,
Nur

From: Luke Turner <xxxxx@luketurner.com>
Subject: Re: Unsanctioned art prints
Date: 9 December 2013 11:40:03 GMT

Dear Nur,

Once again, you have failed to answer all of my questions. This is now the third time I have had to ask you the following, straightforward question:

Please either confirm or deny whether you have produced any other prints using my copyrighted material – for example, the “Special edition A3 art print” that was also offered on your Kickstarter page.

As I made plain in my last email, I will view your failure to answer this question directly and unambiguously as indication that you are hiding all the facts from me.

You have also continued to withhold the name of the printer involved, despite my repeated requests. This obviously reflects extremely badly on you, as I have every right as the copyright owner to know who has been producing these prints of my work.

I expect your reply by the end of the day.

Yours sincerely,
Luke

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*[…] indicates the removal of email pleasantries or other irrelevant content.

Click here to return to the page summarising the events

10 comments

  1. Take this to a lawyer. You have gone about as far as you can to persuade them to resolve this and they are refusing further communication.

  2. I have to agree with Sarah. I think this needs to go through the courts. You might also like to contact Trading Standards about this. They have stolen your work and seem to think that by stealing it they are doing you a favour, thats very arrogant.

    I would also suggest trying to contact the other Artists who had their work offered up as reward tiers Julie Rafalski and Kamila Musilova, as it is entirely possible that they have also been ripped off by this very unsavoury individual.

  3. Interesting. Anyway, don´t you think your (public) thoughts on this situation should at least comment on the fact that your art let´s say deals with originality and copyright issues? I mean “originality” as you know the general contemporary art theme. But in particular, I may say, your work is about presenting a common, predefined logarithmic operation enmarqued in (and thus contrasted with) “aluminium in artist’s frame with anti-reflective glass”, plus selling it at what i assume is a high price (“My current prices are xxxxx per art print, and you have been selling these reproductions as part of a package priced at between £75 and £1000, which damages the future value of my artworks”). The thing is, I´ve read your whole website. And was emphatic with your situation. But then I see your work. And then I see what you write in the Hyperallergic post. And I see that when the first comment that says your artwork should also be considered a fake comes, you answer you´re being “defamed” and that you will ban this guy from posting here. So, I understand you´re only interested with your copyright, your fame and the price value of your work. And then I can´t help but to dislike what you say are your “theoretical intents”, as I see they can´t be but getting yourself into the same system whose practices you condemn. You know, I´m from South America, but I have the idea that this is a major problem in most of Europe´s art schools: that´s what you learn. Am I wrong?. Furthermore, in your email exchange you requested the name of all the kickstarter backers so you could contact them, see if they had prints of your work, etc. And let me ask, how come you didn´t ask for the list of other artists, so you could alert them of the situation? Now you put a website and you say “I would also suggest trying to contact the other Artists”. That shows a lot of solidarity in yourself, I guess you´re really, really busy minding your own “theoretical intents”. Look, I think you should sue art:i:curate and everything. I also really hope you don´t ban my comment, as I don´t mean to defame you, but to put your great “justice cause” in context and continue what you say is the idea of this website: to “contribute to the the much-needed discussion about the exploitation of artists, curators and interns in the art world”. So here´s my contribution: why don´t you start making art, and personal actions, that make a positive contribution to counter-offense that world of exploitation?

    1. Tony, I think you’ve placed me words in Mr Turners mouth I was the one who wrote “I would also suggest trying to contact the other Artists.” In my comment on this story I wrote that because at that time I didn’t know if anybody had or did, I then made an attempt to contact them myself, by email because it seemed like the right thing to do. However I am not and never have been Luke Turner, nor do I know him or any of the other artists involved in this.

  4. Thanks Tony. As you can see, these emails are concerned with the specifics of my own case, which is the only thing I am able to speak about with authority. I am, however, deeply concerned about the exploitation of other artists, which is why I set up this blog, and have been making events known to as many fellow artists as possible. This site has absolutely nothing to do with garnering attention or publicity for my own work. As for the content of my work, they are resolutely anti-default, and so absolutely not predefined as you describe. If you would like to talk further about my works, I would suggest emailing me directly, as I don’t believe this is the proper forum to have this discussion. I don’t want this site to turn into a discussion about my work, but rather it is here to highlight the deceit that has taken place. The actual content of the work could have been a blank piece of paper with an artist’s signature, and the issue would be the same.

    1. Well thanks, but I don´t think is the same if it´s a piece of paper or not, as I don´t think what matters in art is the signature. In my opinion, as an artist I don´t only have authority, but a responsability, to mind about other people who may be in my situation. Also because networks of solidarity are quite the ony counter-offense action I can think of. And it´s about will, not authority. Sorry I sound as a preacher. Anyway, you really think your work has nothing to say about photoshop, originality, machine-produced art? even if you make it pixel by pixel, come on. But, hey, i won´t comment no more as it will distract this website off the main objective which is the art:i:curate very bad faith actions. Luck!

      1. Tony, I contacted the other two artists whose works appeared in the Kickstarter email as soon as I found out about this in November. I also alerted all the other artists I knew on Art.I.Curate’s network, and heard several similar horror stories. Regarding my work, yes it’s very much involved in the conversation about machine-produced art vs originality and artistic expression. As I say, please email me if you’d like to discuss this further. Happily, this is what I spend most of my time thinking about, and creating, and is what I love. All the best.

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