J Balvin has by no means shied away from showcasing his love for the work of the artist Brian Donnelly, a.ok.a KAWS, having adorned himself in KAWS-designed jewelry, clothes and shoes—to not point out buying precise works of art. Finally evening’s Grammy Awards, the reggaeton celebrity discovered one other canvas for the pop artist’s work: his dome. On the pink carpet and on stage, J Balvin rocked a blue buzz lower with an unmistakable pair of KAWS’s signature “X” eyes dyed onto the again of his head.
Besides, whereas J Balvin and his stylist credited Givenchy for his customized swimsuit on their Instagram tales, the musician didn’t seem to formally credit score KAWS for his hair. (Neither KAWS nor J Balvin responded to requests for remark.)
Which raises the query: is the dye job a legally-actionable knock-off, a Canal Avenue KAWS? The “X” eyes are actually a invaluable piece of mental property for the artist, contemplating they seem on all the pieces from Dior collaborations to large-scale installations. And KAWS has proven himself to be protecting of his work prior to now. In a considerably ironic transfer, given his liberal use of existing intellectual property, the artist filed a $10 million lawsuit in opposition to plenty of events for copyright and trademark infringement final November. So, would possibly J Balvin run the danger of a lawsuit for carrying what certain appears to be like like KAWS’s work on the again of his head?
In brief, no, in accordance with Judith Wallace, co-chair of artwork legislation observe at Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP.
“The query the court docket would ask is, how does this have an effect on the marketplace for KAWS’s work?” Wallace mentioned. Even when J Balvin’s hair is appropriating KAWS’s model, a dye job is by nature an ephemeral work. “There is not any product that is on the market,” she mentioned. “I’ve by no means heard of anybody being sued over a coiffure.”
“I believe it is good that artists have turn out to be extra protecting of getting their artistic product mainly stolen, or tailored in a approach that is inconsistent with their integrity,” she mentioned. “Perhaps they do not wish to have their artwork on Louis Vuitton sun shades, for instance.”
After all, these days many artists do in actual fact need their work on some Louis Vuitton. In the event that they’re fortunate, it would even present up on a pink carpet.