The artist has alleged plagiarism, proving that not always imitation is a form of flattery.
Ed Sheeran celebrated the release of his new song with a giant mural in Shoreditch last week. Many locals tagged East London based artist David Speed on social media, believing the work to be his, as his signature style and colour palette had been replicated in the advertisement.
“This happens to a lot of artists who don’t have the platform that I do and are exploited with no compensation or recourse. Ed Sheeran probably doesn’t even know that this wall exists, but as an artist and musician I think he’d probably agree that it’s not cool to profit from other artists’ hard work.” – David Speed
As noted on the artist’s Instagram, Speed was not contacted to paint this promo and has let his frustrations be known by amending the advertisement.
He feels that brands and agencies should not have free reign to allegedly plagiarise street artists work for the purpose of advertising but says it happens more than you would think. Speed thinks it’s no coincidence that the mural was painted in this style, on his home turf.
“I’d bet big money that my work was on the ‘mood board’ for this and there’s no doubt that whatever agency arranged this, knows of me” – David Speed
David is an East London based artist, best known for his series of neon paintings. Using neon, the artist has carved a unique signature style, finding that the unmissable fluorescent colours dramatically captivate viewers. David’s work centres around themes of identity, connection and untold stories.
David has worked in an official and unofficial capacity as a mentor to several young artists and is the host of #1 podcast ‘Creative Rebels’ which encourages creativity and shares the stories of experts within the creative industries, helping artists to establish their careers.
Ed has also had accusations of copying directed to his music. Back in 2016 the heirs of Let’s Get It On co-writer Ed Townsend sued Sheeran through the US courts over allegations that he had ripped off the “melody, harmony and rhythm compositions” of the Gaye classic on his 2014 record ‘Thinking Out Loud’. A second action was taken last year. These legal cases are yet to come to any conclusion.