Communitarian Efforts – Richard Prince by Jason Collins

Richard Prince is an American artist who was born on the sixth of August 1949. However, he was not born in the United States of America, instead, he was born in the then-U.S.-controlled Panama Canal Zone, which is now the country of the Republic of Panama. Prince is known as a controversial figure in the art and photography worlds for copyright infringements and appropriating other artists’ artworks and images. In this article, we will explore who Prince is as an artist and why he is so controversial, while we will also look at some of his works. 

Who Is Prince as an Artist

When Prince was born in the then U.S controlled area called the Panama Control Zone, his parents worked for the U.S. government in the Office of Strategic Services. His family later moved to Braintree, Massachusetts, New England. However, in 1973, Prince moved to New York and worked for the publishing company Time Inc., where he provided tear sheets of articles for the company. Prince was interested in abstract art, especially the American abstract artist Jackson Pollock. Prince once stated about Jackson Pollock, “I was very attracted to the idea of someone who was by themselves, fairly antisocial, kind of a loner, someone who was non collaborative.” This was someone Prince felt a connection with. Many of Prince’s artworks feature cowboy and Western themes. Prince often depicts one of his illustrations with a photograph. 


Prince has been known for a few controversies, these included stealing or copying other artists’ artwork. In 2008 the photographer, Patrick Cariuo, had actually sued Prince for wrongly appropriating 35 photos that Cariou took. Over 28 of the images were not changed by Prince, though by 2013, only five of the images were considered to be copied. The two artists eventually settled out of court in 2014. 
Another artist who said Prince appropriated their work was the famous model Emily Ratajowski. The piece of appropriated work was an image from Emily’s Instagram account, which she had then turned into an NFT and sold for $175,000. 
Emily had this to say about the whole incident on Twitter, “I hope to symbolically set a precedent for women and ownership online, one that allows for women to have ongoing authority over their image and to receive rightful compensation for its usage and distribution.”

Richard Prince, Self Portrait, 1973-2013 By Richard Prince

The artwork called “Richard Prince, Self Portrait, 1973-2013,” by Richard Prince, is a self-portrait of himself. It shows a black-and-white photograph of himself dressed in Cowboy Attire. The photo shows Prince wearing a dark mask and white cowboy hat while pointing a classic six-shooter revolver toward the camera. Perhaps he was making a comment about the construction of American identity. The image must have been taken while Prince was young, as he has a youthful face and beard. 

If you want to learn more about Prince, you can visit his website to check out all of his different and controversial artworks.

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