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Mural Artist Sues Guess Over Copyright Issues in Spring ’19 Capsule

The art used as the backdrop for a Guess campaign has become the subject of a legal matter surrounding the denim brand.

Last week, mural artist Douglas Hoekzema, known as Hoxxoh, filed a lawsuit against Guess after claiming the brand used his artwork without his permission. Located in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, the mural “HoxxoH” features a colorful, curved design that’s a staple in the artist’s work.

The mural appears as a backdrop in the brand’s J Balvin Spring 2019 capsule collection, which debuted in February and featured vibrant colors and South Beach-inspired flair. The images were used on billboards and in catalogs, social media posts and videos. The collection reflects the aesthetic of “Vibras,” the Spanish word for “vibes” and also the name of Latin musical artist J. Balvin’s most recent album. Balvin is not part of the lawsuit, which was filed in the state of Florida.

The line between public and private is becoming blurred as mural artists have been biting back at brands using their art in promotional materials.

In Detroit, Autoblog reported that artists Daniel Bombardier, Maxx Gramajo, James “Dabls” Lewis and Jeff Soto asked for compensation from Mercedes Benz following an Instagram post by the car maker, which showed one of its vehicles driving by their artwork. Mercedes responded by removing the post. However, it is currently seeking judgment that it was entitled to use the images without compensation and without consulting the artists.

Similarly, the Observer reported that an artist sued the supermarket chain Hy-Vee for copyright infringement. His complaint? A mural he had painted in Iowa was visible in the background of a 2019 Super Bowl commercial for the retailer.