There was a time when a group of students from RWCMD and models from Cardiff Life Model Collective were to perform a one off, see how it goes, show. This was to be at The Gate in Cardiff. We ran into some problems with some ‘friends’ and had to pull the show and so had a loss of opportunity for the venue, the performers, the artists and the arts in Cardiff and South Wales.
This was the original statement:
‘The proposed Cardiff Life Model Collective life drawing show, ‘Life Lines’, has been cancelled due to the intervention of a couple that I have endeavoured to help and support and who are currently claiming copyright infringement or something along those lines. They claim to have ownership of an idea, an idea that I floated and discussed with The Gate back in 2011. Until relatively recently, after discussing this idea with them in 2015/16, I helped them to promote and deliver a similar and ongoing project of their own.
They took my ‘name’, my idea, my ‘venue’ and my models (and didn’t pay them) and with my full support delivered a show.
My name was Andy Muse, and had been for an age, since about 2010. Lucy asked me if it would be OK for her to adopt the same surname, leading to some thinking that we were brother and sister.
My idea has always been the same, a life drawing show with multiple models, live music, scripted content but ‘stations’ where a monologue is delivered and the nude actor then remains still and is then drawn by the audience before the the audience moves on and the next monologue begins. This is very different to the couples performance but they seem to think the content, Jazz and Nudity, is something that they can claim as their own.
I introduced the couple to Little Man Coffee Co after they asked me where would be suitable for their performance in Cardiff. This is the Cardiff Life Model Collective weekly venue for life drawing.
I made sure there were models available at their performances who were happy to get naked and perform with them. They were not paid for the first show and I was the only model I supplied for the second and I was not paid for this either. I also advertised their shows through the Cardiff Life Model fb page.
I do not have the time to engage with their solicitor and have no inclination to defend the proposed show. Life is too short. As this was a fun, beneficial to others (would have cost me at least £500 as I intended to pay those involved) event that was being driven by a collective drawn from final year RWCMD actors and musicians, Cardiff Life Model Collective and a few Cardiff based photographers and writers it is unlikely to be resurrected as the perfect storm of talent availability would be difficult to replicate. In any case, The Gate do not want to be involved in a controversy and so I have told them we will pull the show.
I cannot of course tell you who you ought to be ‘friends’ with but I have had enough of this kind of bullshit both in the outdoors, where I deliver walks for my other business, and the arts community, and I am drawing a line in the sand.
If you are friends with or intend to support in any way Ben Thomas and or Lucy Muse please remove yourself from this group.’
Following the making of this statement it became apparent that there had been a good deal of manipulation of reality. That a piece within a larger piece was being portrayed as a major item that we were stealing, that ownership of the name Life Lines was being demanded and that ownership of the combination of jazz music and nudity was somehow theirs. Vimeo uploads were made ‘retrospectively’, threats of solicitors were compounded by demands to chat and to attend our life drawing session and to sort the mess out. But threatening me with court action and then aggressively wanting to be my friend doesn’t sit well with us.
Sorry, but we don’t cave in to bullies. The opportunity for us had passed and the relationship, once fruitful and interesting was done and dusted.
We will never work with those who threaten artists with court action. We will never work with those who believe they own ideas and concepts. Especially when, in the main, the ideas that they believed that they owned were given or collaboratively arrived at, with us!
We leave this post here as a record of the kind of battles we seem to have to fight, that are not wanted, that are damaging to all involved and to clearly state to others, the readers, ‘what was the point in that?’