May 03, 2007

As many of you know, we have been taking some aggressive action against ebay sellers/flippers and the incredible prices of the prints sold on ebay. Well, we have been getting a ton of email reactions to some of the posts and email replies we have sent… Some have been positive but most have had the reaction as to the email posted here. Below is Shepard’s response to this particular email and to these reactions in general. We just want to set the record straight and let everyone know where Shepard and the rest of the crew stand. People will have their opinions and not be happy but we believe in what we are saying and doing, and we hope all of you can understand our position and continue to support the OBEY!

John Doe,
Get a spine. There is no need to conceal your identity… I would not ban you for sharing your opinion. Being outspoken and willing to stand for what you believe in are things I’ve always encouraged. That is exactly why I’m standing behind my decision to ban ebay flippers, especially ones who sell the Darfur print. Yes, I’m familiar with free enterprise, I named my book “Supply and Demand”. So, if you are familiar with market forces as well, then you obviously know I could be selling my prints for more money. I’m ignoring market forces to my own financial detriment to benefit people who want to collect affordable art. I emphasize COLLECT, not re-sell like a stock market day trader. If I was maximizing what I could profit from my work, then I would not take offense to others doing the same. Many artists WANT their work to be sold on ebay because ebay prices set a precedent for what they should be charging. I’m going against the advice of galleries I work with by trying to prevent ebaying. There is actually a California law designed to benefit artists who often make very little from their works compared to the revenue the art eventually generates on the secondary market. This law states that the original artist is entitled to 10% of any successive sale of their work. I have never tried to enforce this law even though pieces I literally gave away have re-sold for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. I want to address the “irony” of Obey Giant having to resort to “Big Brother” tactics to stop ebay flippers. Yes, you could say the situation is filled with irony, the greatest of which is that some of my supposed supporters could be such unethical assholes. My attitude is very laissez-faire generally, I assume that if people use common sense and do the right thing then there is no need for me to to intervene. However, I’m very opposed to injustice and I see an ebay flipper preventing a collector from being able to get a print at a low price as an injustice. Your threat that you will stop collecting my work if I don’t “deal with this issue properly” and change my policy is a risk I can live with. Here is another irony, I have sometimes been called a sellout because I do graphic design as well as make art. If I only made art, I might have to worry about kissing the asses of art buyers. I can express myself freely and never worry about whether my art or policies will be popular because I’m “diversified”(that’s economics 101). On the other hand, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported me and genuinely enjoys my work as more than a way to turn a quick profit… THANK YOU!