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Taubmans rejects claims 2013 campaign inspired by freelance artist’s work

Major paint brand Taubmans has rejected claims by a freelance graphic designer and artist that a recent campaign for its Endure brand was inspired by artwork he showed to the brand in 2011.

Alex Wynnter, an artist who creates large artworks using Taubmans paint swatches, said he approached Taubmans two years ago with the aim of creating a work with the company’s paint swatches that the company could then auction to raise money for charity.

Wynnter told Mumbrella: “I offered to make artwork using their paint swatches that they could then auction for charity. Of course as an artist I hoped to be recognised for my work; however, as a big brand they have access that I cannot achieve. With their help, we could have done something really cool both for their own marketing and for the community.”

Wynnter says he was alerted to the recent Taubmans Endure campaign, which features a woman working with paint swatches and artwork of a bird created using the swatch technique, by his Facebook fans.

However Taubmans has firmly rejected the artist’s claims noting the technique is far from unique.

In a statement the company said:

“Artwork created using paint chips is not unique. It is commonly used in artwork and crafts, popular around the world and also in Australia. There are thousands of examples online.

PPG (Taubmans’ parent company) brand, White Knight, has examples of paint chip artwork dating back to 1998, and here is one recent example for PPG-owned Glidden that has used a similar concept in a TVC.

Large brands like Taubmans receive hundreds of unsolicited approaches in any given year from designers floating concepts. Alex Wynnter is one example of a designer who originally approached Taubmans in this way.

Prior to the time Alex contacted Taubmans plans for incorporating paint chip artwork were already in action. Taubmans refutes any accusation by Alex Wynnter that the 2013 campaign was inspired by his work. While Taubmans appreciates his creativity, the use of paint chips in artwork is not his intellectual property.

The bird artwork, as featured in the Taubmans look book and TVC, was inspired by a popular decorating trend in market throughout 2011 and 2012. The Taubmans creative for 2013 showcases Australian native birds.”

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The original artwork Wynnter sent images of to Taubmans

Wynnter first contacted Taubmans in October 2011, sending the company images of artwork using swatches he had recently completed.

“I have a public gallery on Facebook. People are aware that I make paint swatch artwork – it’s some of my most popular work. After a few messages asking if it was my work, I searched it up online and was surprised and certainly a little disappointed,” Wynnter told Mumbrella.

He was in contact with the company’s PR firm, DEC Public Relations, from January to February 2013 when the company declined to work with him due to having a designer currently in place working on visuals for a new campaign.

“I know they saw what I created well before their Endure Interior advertisement campaign. I know that the artwork I created is unique compared to other paint swatch artwork you can see online. Their ad campaign shows something strikingly similar to my work. It’s hard to imagine that they didn’t get their idea from me,” he said.

On the inspiration behind the new campaign Wynnters said: “Most likely their marketing team sat down and decided it’s a really cool way of highlighting their range of colours. The finished artwork can look amazing and I believe inspires people to use objects that would otherwise be discarded. To them it’s all about inspiring people to buy their product—which I don’t necessarily have a problem with. It’s just disappointing because they could have done this in a way that benefited the artist and the community and they chose not to.”

By Alex Wynnter

Created by Alex Wynnter in June 2013

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