Aaron Connell, aka Aaron D.C. Edge, aka The Man of Multnomah, graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia close the top of his class. He has been an Art Director for many years. He is also a musician (Guitarist, drummer, vocalist ) and he has designed hundreds of CD/record covers, posters and t-shirts for musical groups around the world, including David Bowie. After being Art Director at Southern Lord Records in Los Angeles, he moved to the Pacific Northwest where he continues to design and perform.
Clearly he is an accomplished artist, musician, and designer. He is a professional. He should know better than using another artist’s work.
Two days ago I decided to do my bi-monthly image searched. I started with my etching The Jury and The Inquisition. https://www.etsy.com/listing/76876186/raven-artwork-raven-crow-etching-7-x-10 .
I found two unauthorized uses of my artwork. One is still being investigated, the other involves the band DSGNS and their CD titled Hexes. I contacted a member of the band and asked why they used my artwork. He explained that they hired a well-known designer, Aaron Edge, to do the CD. He gave me Mr. Edge’s website http://manofmultnomah.blogspot.com/
I went to the site expecting to find an inexperienced designer with a student portfolio. Instead I found a mature designer with an impressive list of clients, a man recognized in his field. I emailed him and was shocked by his cavalier response:
My email: Please contact me regarding my copyrighted artwork used on your CD without permission
Mr. Edge’s reply: Found the art at a FedEx/Kinkos, was left on a photocopier. No name and no artist info. Used it without knowing anything about it and this is the first time I have seen that it is a copyright protected image. Sorry that I didn’t know.
My email: Really??
You never tried to do an image search? As an artist you must know that it does not need a copyright notice, everything an artist creates automatically is legally copyrighted as soon as it is signed or finished, finding it in Kinkos does not make it yours. What makes you think that finding it on a copier makes it OK to use for a CD???!
His reply: Wow. I never said it was mine, I said I found it. I’m sorry you are so upset.
My email: Why shouldn’t I be? You got paid for your design, correct? a significant amount was not actually your own artwork. Honestly my stuff gets ripped but many music groups, it is incredibly frustrating. Then I find a designer, who should have a basic understanding of artists rights and copyright, using my artwork without any attempt to discover the owner…it is absurd
So essentially he found my image on a photocopier, made no effort at all to find out who did it. He then used it in a design for which he received payment. What really angers me is his remark “I am sorry that you are so upset”. That kind of comment is what I expect from an adolescent, not a professional artist. At this point I was furious. His remark “I never said it was mine” tipped me over the edge. He attempted to take ownership as soon as he used it in his design. His name appears as the designer, he is claiming the image as his artwork. Appropriating of public domain art as elements in his designs is one thing, taking a piece which he admits he knew nothing about and used it without permission, is another. He is a professional, he should know better. In his following emails he apologies, followed by “Again, I’m sorry. How many times would you like to read it.” really? Not very sincere at all.
Ironically the band was much more sincere with their apology. They were also furious that they paid for a CD design and received a partially plagiarized CD design. Aaron actually avoided them while he was emailing me. The band has guaranteed credit on future re- releases on the CD and credit on the up-coming vinyl version of the CD. These guys were absolutely professional respectful and genuine. I wish every band behave like them.
Mr. Edge, one the other hand, was less the honest. He took money from a band to design an original album cover. Instead he took my artwork without the slightest thought of copyright, or artist’s ethics and used it on their CD. He never made any effort to find the owner of the artwork. When confronted with his plagiarism he reacted with an indifference and arrogant attitude. For a while I seriously considered hiring a lawyer but I knew that the band DSGNS and their record label would be dragged into the lawsuit. I still may consult a copyright lawyer to see what my options are. I am reluctant to use a lawyer because Mr. Edge has had some bad luck with his health. Though I do not like the way he treated me or DSGNS I have problems taking an unhealthy man to court.
So a prominent place on my Image Pirate Hall of Shame will suffice for now, public shaming works wonders.
Aaron Connell, aka Aaron D.C. Edge, aka The Man of Multnomah, shame on you.
the band added my name to the credits on their- CD Link to DSGNS “hexes” www.Plutorecords.bandcamp.com/album/hexes