Le Petit Prince artist Troy Gua on the cease and desist from Prince

Categories: Purple Reign
troyguapetitprince.jpg
Photo courtesy of Troy Gua
Prince puts the kibosh on his mini-me
Somewhere deep down, we're sure Seattle-based conceptual artist and serious Prince obsessive Troy Gua expected he'd someday have to face saying goodbye to the much-lauded miniature doll that was at the center of his art series, Le Petit Prince. This was no small project -- Gua literally recreated many famous Prince moments with the little guy and even included detailed props like the Purple Rain motorcycle. Ironically, we were recently emailing with Gua to do a piece about the new calendar he was putting out featuring some of these photographs, but this week Gua sadly informed us the dream is over.  He received a cease and desist letter from the real Prince's people on Monday. 

See Also:
Le Petit Prince doll: The adventures of tiny Prince
Troy Gua's 'Le Petit Prince' doll pays tribute to The Artist


Gua posted the news to Facebook early this week and talked with us about the controversy that has left many fans reeling. Gua has taken the high road, however, and added following on his page as a reminder when many expressed negative feelings toward Prince:

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One commenter spoke up to say that she had the same experience with Prince:  "Never get close to those you admire, you'll always be disappointed."

Similarly, a local electro DJ, Lenka Paris, was sent a similar C&D this month after creating Prince remixes and posting them to her Sound Cloud for streaming only.

If it wasn't clear before, his Purpleness has some very stringent ideas around what his fans can and cannot do in their appreciation of him. In a nutshell: Yes, please do pay $250 for that concert ticket, but 'Hova help you if you seek to publicly admire him through music or art.

Here's our quick interview with Troy:

Gimme Noise: Troy, no more LPP? Can you talk about it?

Troy Gua: Sure. Craziness. I got an email from a law firm containing a PDF which was the cease and desist -- it's pretty comprehensively erasing LPP from the world -- online and off.

Was it from Prince's people?


Yeah, a law firm representing him and his business entities.

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What was your reaction?

Monday afternoon I got the email right after I came in from a run. I was dumbfounded and frankly, a little frightened. The wording is pretty aggressive. The hard copy came next day via FedEx.

You say on your Facebook page you're encouraging "no hate" over this -- what are you trying to get across? Are you protecting your idea of him?

I'm just shocked and upset at the outpouring of negativity for Prince over this situation. I'm protecting the essence of the project - and yes, I suppose I am protecting my idea of him, in a way.

What will you do with the doll now?

I don't really know yet - the order says I'm not even allowed to exhibit the photo work or the sculptural doll -- so...I really don't know. LPP means a lot to me, so he's not going in a box or anything.

What would be your message to Prince after all this?

My message to Prince...wow. Thank you for giving me so much joy throughout my life. I really don't know what else to say. Regarding LPP, I just wish it had turned out differently. I can argue that this project is my re-imagining, my recreation, my expression of the inspiration behind it, and that it is an artistic entity in and of itself, but I won't. I won't fight, I won't argue with my hero.

Do you think it was the Le Petit Prince calendar that tipped it this way, since you would presumably profit from it?

Maybe. But that's the thing -- it was to fund the self-publishing costs of a book that I was going to sell at cost -- there really was no profit to be.

So, obvious question... What is next for you?

Next? Back to the salt mines! I'm working on other projects - putting a solo show of Pop Hybrid work for May in Cleveland.

To learn more about Troy, check out his website.



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RIP Le Petit Prince

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7 comments
foxypinkgirl
foxypinkgirl

from what I've heard over the years, Prince doesn't let anyone do anything regarding his music or image. apparently he's a D-via. and honestly, I think the doll is adorable. it is a work of art. it's not like there are multiples of them, there's just one, he did it as a tribute, and did a fine job. it's not like it's a caricature and making fun of Prince, he's honoring him.

HighHatCouture
HighHatCouture

If I were Prince I would find the LPP doll by Troy very disturbing. I take Prince's side on this.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Someone should let Troy Gua know we already have a guy who looks like Scott Seekins  His name is "Scott Seekins.". 

 

As for his project, he isn't just infringing on Prince's likeness, he's cribbing the name from a classic piece of literature, as "erikmpls" points out on Twitter.  Mr. Gua should stick to creating original art, and giving it an original name, if he doesn't want people to get irritated with him.  This isn't about Prince being sniffy.  If Mr. Gua wanted to move forward legitimately, he was obligated to get Mr. Prince's permission.  Mr. Prince probably would have said "No," but it is his likeness, so it's up to him.

eriktmpls
eriktmpls

@ChrisRstrib @Jen_Boyles I wouldn't be surprised if the estate of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has something to say about it as well.

keny1
keny1

 @swmnguy Last I heard, you cannot copyright a "likeness" of oneself.  

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

 @keny1 You've heard something about this point of law?  Why?  But actually, I think you can maintain some control over how your likeness is used.  I don't think I could sell a little figurine of you without your permission.  Not that I have any idea what you look like, of course.  Now, if we went into a joint venture, that's a completely different deal.  But I bet if you walked into the local figurine shop, and hey! There's a whole shelf of keny1 garden gnomes, and you haven't seen one thin dime out of it; I bet you could make me knock it off.  Or make me write you a check.

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