“Creepy Portraits” lands Quebec teacher in lawsuit

“Creepy Portraits” lands Quebec teacher in lawsuit
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In the modern art paradigm, consent and plagiarism are more hotly debated topics than ever. From the purposefully slippery cesspool that is AI art generation to reopened debates on the likes of Warhol, we are seeing the topic batted around more each passing year. But maybe the most unexpected addition to the debate comes from a grade school teacher in Quebec, thanks to their side hustle of Creepy Portraits.


A $1.5 million lawsuit is being levelled at Mario Perron and the Lester B. Pearson School Board following the reveal that Perron had been repurposing his students’ work to sell as merchandise on his website. After assigning his students the task of creating portraits inspired by the signature style of Basquiat—an assignment he perhaps insensitively called “Creepy Portrait”—Perron took their portraits and began printing them to order various merchandise that was selling for up to nearly $40 a pop.


Parents were living when they found out about the matter, and students also seemingly felt despondent about having their works being used without permission, especially with their first names attached. They filed their lawsuit in the Quebec Superior Court, and it calls for not only the monetary damages but also an apology from Perron and a report of Creepy Portraits’ sales.


There is a good chance the lawsuit has strong footing, especially given Perron having actively sold the works of the students for Creepy Portraits. This coupled with the contemporary examples being set regarding similar cases of artist plagiarism may put the school and Perron in hot water. But kudos to each student for making some truly haunting portrait work.