Retail giant American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is being sued by a Miami street artist for unlawfully using his work in a global advertising campaign without consent. David Anasagasti, street artist better known as “Ahol Sniffs Glue” has been associated with his graffiti trademark of rows and rows of half-closed eyes that he claims American Eagle copied.
Upon fears of being classified amongst the street artist crowd as a “corporate sellout,” Anasagasti filed a lawsuit in New York federal court asserting the retailer stole two of his copyrighted images that were displayed on AEO store art, on the Internet and on billboards promoting the brand.
*Image infringed upon (above).
The lawsuit claims that due to Anasagasti’s reputation amongst the underground street artists residing in Miami, AEO has now given the perception that Anasagasti has sold himself out to large corporate interests, an undertaking that is frowned upon amid his artist community.
Even though Anasagasti’s copyrights for the images were officially registered after AEO launched its campaign, the plaintiff is still pursuing his suit for unspecified damages and the profits from the infringement. Gregg Shienbaum, the artist’s agent, commented “Ahol [Anasagasti] is not painting for a corporation. He’s painting because he loves it.” Shienbaum further stated that the eyes are anti-corporate and “represent the working class, who struggle and are good people.” The droopy portrayals of the eyes are representative of the artist’s way of saying “You may be down today, but you’ve got to keep going.”
AEO attorneys could not be reached for comment.
News reference via Reuters