Painter demands N.B. groups stop using his art to promote political protest

Painting "Roaring Tides" by Adam Young is seen. Adam Young

A Newfoundland artist is pleading with protest organizers in New Brunswick to stop using his art for promotional material without his permission.

Adam Young, who goes by Young Studios on social media, says groups on Facebook and Twitter are using his painting to promote an upcoming political protest in N.B.

“It’s not right,” Young said. “I hadn’t given permission for the group to use my work in that way.”

Earlier this week, many of his friends and followers started reaching out to him to inform him the painting was being used in posts promoting a rally in Quispamsis, N.B.

The rally seems to oppose COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Premier Blaine Higgs in the province.

The following Facebook post is an example of the promotional material that features Young’s painting.

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The painting, Roaring Tides, was inspired by the New Brunswick provincial flag and is a part of a series Young did on all four Atlantic provinces.

It wasn’t meant to be politicized, he said.

“I’m a proud East Coaster. … It was just meant to be a piece that basically shows the beauty of our province.”

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On Thursday, Young took to social media in hopes of getting his concerns heard.

“I do not give permission for my art to be used in this manner. I have asked for them to stop using the image,” he wrote on Facebook.

The post now has more than 2,400 likes and 400 comments and shares, and Young says he’s grateful for his community’s response.

“I’ve had a lot of really kind messages and in response to my post, and I appreciate it.”

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But, Young told Global News his attempts to have the protest-organizing groups remove his painting from their posts have been unsuccessful.

“I was met with a few people blocking me and a few people kind of ignoring me,” he said.

“My real issue was with the fact that my work was being used without my permission.”

Young also said politics is not something he wants to be involved in.

“My work is just for the sake and beauty of our provinces and the love of painting. I haven’t taken on that political outlet and I don’t think I ever would,” he said.

And it’s not something he wants to change.

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“I just keep it simple,” Young said. “My whole message in my work, and in the way that I make my own rules of living, is to be kind — and I show kindness in all that I do.”

Artist Adam Young is seen holding his painting “Gusty,” in a photo taken last November. Adam Young

He said it’s common for artists to have their work used — without permission — for things they weren’t intended for.

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“Everyone who puts their stuff out there, it can be manipulated and used in any way.”

Young said taking legal action in this case will be his last resort, as he wants this to be a teachable moment.

“Hopefully, through this whole situation, people will understand that copyright is a real thing and you should ask for permission.”

But, if the use of Roaring Tides continues he will have to take further steps, “reluctantly,” he said.


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