Thursday, March 19, 2009

Complete Control

Local graphic artist is ripped off by big rock and roll stars!!

I hate to get ripped off.
Click image for proof >>

Someone associated with the band Los Mondo Bongo, which is an alt. rock super group of sorts, stole my poster design and I am pissed. You can see in the accompanying graphic: the original OtherWisz-designed artwork (on the left), and next to it, the version that the band used on it's recent European and Canadian tour. They were suppose to visit Buffalo earlier this month, but some 'visa issues' prevented them from touring the States.

The Story
Here is what happened and how I got robbed by Los Mondo Bongo. I was asked by local rock maven Chris Malichowski to design a poster for the Mescaleros last Spring. The band, which consisted of two of remainder members of Joe Strummer's Mescaleros, was going to tour the US. Since Chris was instrumental in building up such a great event with the annual Joe Strummer tribute concert (every December at the Mohawk Place), the manager contacted him to arrange the Mescal shows over here. I did a poster (for FREE) which was never used because the band imploded before the tour began.

Last year, some of the members from the Mescaleros joined forces with some other '80s rockers including Mike Peters of The Alarm. Chris asked me to do a new version of the poster. I graciously donated hours of my time and came up with a new poster design. I emailed a PDF proof to the manager in England, and they LOVED IT (exact quote : "top class, the boys love them..."). They asked me to edit the poster to make several different versions that they could use throughout the tour. I told them, via email it is doable, let me work up a cost. Next thing I know, the gig is canceled (again); the band couldn't get the proper visas to tour the US.

Well that all happened in December of last year. Fast forward to last week. Los Mondo makes it to North American soil for their gig at The Horseshoe Tavern up in Toronto. I hear from a friend, who went to the show, that they are using a bastardized version of MY POSTER! I checked the band's My Space page, AND FOUND the poster art is the header; I did a Google image search and up comes the new version of my poster-- a stolen, bastardized version of my work!!!!! If fact, the Google image search (try it, search for 'Los Mondo Bongo') revealed various versions of this poster that were edited by someone else including one that has the same Strummer cowboy graphic, more text added and my name removed, but the evidence of my logo still there (see it at right). Bastards!

Can you believe it? Someone took a low res PDF (that I sent them to proof by) and built a new poster from the same artwork! Same fonts (Rosewood regular and fill), same colors, same graphics and same layout! The kicker is they used some crappy 'wanted poster' graphic to COVER UP the spot where my logo and website address was on the original poster (see above).

I would love to know who the 'artist' was who did this, and if they felt justified in taking my graphic design work-- which I did as a favor and did not get paid for-- and stealing it for several gigs by the same band. I am not cool with this. Plus the remodeled version is kinda crummy-- the uninspired centering of the headline, the noisy background, the page crammed with graphics- it's a freakin' visual overload.

This is what I get for being a nice guy... well, to the guy that did this- F U !
I would bet Joe Strummer would not have found this to be cool!!

UPDATE 03.23.09-
I got an email from the guy in England who was setting this up. I sent him the link to this post. I fail to call him 'their manager' because I don't think he is officially the band's manager:

Hi Mark,
thanks for the link, posters look great...big thanks



Jason Gusmann said...

that is fucking fucked up. seriously. fuck those guys. otherwisz rules.

Anonymous said...

jason is right --- lame-o --- that is just wrong - o - Boy- o

Jenna Appleseed said...

just found your blog via google news alerts

bad enough that they were claiming the Mescaleros name as their own without Joe and attempting to class ex-Clash last line up member Vince White as one (who going by what was posted on IMCT at the time couldn't decide if he hated Joe and/or Clash fans at the time) as charity tribute until Strummerville kicked them off/got gig cancelled.

Yours is much better poster - slightly prefer their title header layout (is that nicked from one of yours?)
Ok if I mention/quote this post in my zine with picture?

mark said...

It does appear they are using the header I designed for this poster a logo of sorts now. It sickens me.

Anonymous said...

Mike Peters is one of my best friends. I'll get to the bottom of this. Please e-mail me your contact info. I can apologize on his behalf, and he was NOT involved. This pre-dates his involvement. My e-mail address is
Gary Z.

j.ll said...

So let me know if I got this right-we are up-in-arms over a bunch of guys who are known for taking the name and work of a dead bandmate for appropriating your work?

Should we have expected something ORIGINAL from them?

At least you are still around to tell/ do something about it...