Portrait of Christopher Hitchens on Sale with Proceeds Going to ReasonFest January 15, 2012

Portrait of Christopher Hitchens on Sale with Proceeds Going to ReasonFest

As I mentioned yesterday, the Society of Open-Minded Atheists & Agnostics (SOMA) at the University of Kansas is holding it’s second annual ReasonFest on February 11th-12th.

Adam Brown, the co-creator of We Are Atheism, has painted a picture of Christopher Hitchens and put it up for sale on eBay. He tells me all the proceeds will go toward ReasonFest!

Sweet! Someone should hang that painting in their home so that it’ll be the first thing guests see when they walk in. Or tape it to your ceiling in the bedroom. Because that’d be freakishly awesome.

The auction ends next Sunday night and there’s a $500 minimum reserve before the painting is released, but it’s all going to a good cause!


P.S. If you’d like to support ReasonFest but don’t have $500, you can always make Michaelyn get a mohawk 🙂

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  • Ronlawhouston

    Hmm, you might be able to get away with that with Hitchens, but if it were Steve Jobs his estate would be threatening to sue you.  I know its for a good cause but still unless you get permission from the estate it is misappropriating someone’s likeness.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to support this, but that doesn’t look like Hitch. I’d proudly hang a painting of Hitch in my house, but it would have to actually look like him.

  • starskeptic

    I agree

  • Tim

    really?  It wouldn’t be a problem under English law (and I speak as an English lawyer), so I am surprised.  Have a strumbled upon the one issue where were you Americans have less freedom of expression than us Brits? 

  • Inferno

    It looks like Hitchens. It’s just that the shading ends so abruptly that it looks as though he drew each half of the face from a different angle and just smashed em together.

  • anonymous980

    Not a lawyer, but it should be legal.

    from the wikipedia article on personality rights: “In the July 2003 case of Tiger Woods v. Jireh Publishing, however, a painting of the famous golfer Tiger Woods and others is protected by the US Constitution’s First Amendment and treads neither on the golfer’s trademarks nor publicity rights. Similarly in the July 2003 case of Johnny and Edgar Winter v. DC Comics, a depiction of blues music
    duo the Winter brothers in a comic book as worms called the Autumn
    Brothers obtained First Amendment protection from publicity rights suit.
    The 6 May 2005 Toney v. L’Oreal and Wella opinion clarified the distinction between the purview of copyright versus the nature of publicity rights.”

  • Ronlawhouston

    California is probably the worst for misappropriation laws.  Since Hollywood has a lot of “speech money” they have passed the strictest laws. 

    Honestly I’m not taking a position either way.  I suspect Hitchen’s estate would be fine with the use.  However, given that Carl Sagan threatened Apple over the use of the word “Sagan” in some unreleased beta, you just never know.

    In my mind it depends on whether the person portrayed is an a$$hole or not.

  • starskeptic

    I don’t know – the eyes look too close together – put a goatee on him and it’ll look like Jesse James…

  • Thanks for helping, Hemant. I’m the artist by the way. I’m sorry it isn’t perfect. I’ve sold a lot of paintings, but haven’t done a portrait in 10 years. Just trying to help out ReasonFEST.

  • Thanks for doing this, Adam.

  • I hate to break this to the artist, but I’m fairly sure that the quotation on the back of his painting that he attributes to Hitch is actually a quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It’s from her essay in the Portable Atheist. Common misquotation, I think i made the same mistake on my facebook page one day.

  • mingfrommongo

    Parade, meet rain. Sorry. The legal issue wouldn’t be with the Hitchens estate, but with the photographer who took the back cover picture that Adam copied. That photograph is protected by copyright, and Adam’s work fails all of the tests for fair use. This is similar to Shepard Fairey having to share the rights to his “Hope” image of Barack Obama because he manipulated an AP photo to create it. 30 seconds with Google reveals that it is one Christian Witkin whose attorneys Adam will probably be hearing from. Adam should probably talk to an attorney before going through with the sale.

    I applaud the effort, but this could be much more trouble than it is worth.

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