Home Interior Design New Documentary ‘Copyright Infringement’ Unpacks the Art and Action Behind Artist Cj Hendry’s Beloved Treasure Hunt

New Documentary ‘Copyright Infringement’ Unpacks the Art and Action Behind Artist Cj Hendry’s Beloved Treasure Hunt

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What would you do to get your hands on a free limited edition CJ Hendry T-shirt? If you’re one of the Australian artist’s fans – and she has 682,000 instagram followers to his name – you probably know the answer to this question. You’d embark on a massive scavenger hunt, blindly chasing her and her team through cities around the world in hopes of landing a box in her annual report. copyright infringement reveal.

Now the small but wildly popular phenomenon, which began with a Cease and Desist letter from the domain of Muhammed Ali in 2018, is the subject of a new documentary filmalso titled copyright infringementpremiering June 9 at Brooklyn Film Festival.

It’s the feature debut from director David Sabshon and D’Marie Productions, and it follows Hendry, his family and crew on an intercontinental adventure, dropping off t-shirts in five cities in four countries in as many days. (This whirlwind took place, remarkably, when Hendry was five months pregnant — something the filmmakers shot, at her request.)

“It was exhausting,” Hendry admitted to Artnet News. “But I’m just a small piece of a very big puzzle. I can’t do it without my team. (That included a dedicated team in London, as well as his parents and sister in his hometown of Brisbane, while Hendry and his studio head, Elsa Picone, ran the drops in North America.)

<em>Copyright infringement</em>, always.  Photo courtesy of D’Marie Productions.” width=”819″ height=”1024″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/05/Photo-3-T12-819×1024. jpeg 819w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/05/Photo-3-T12-240×300.jpeg 240w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/ 2023/05/Photo-3-T12-40×50.jpeg 40w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2023/05/Photo-3-T12.jpeg 864w” sizes=”(max- width: 819px) 100vw, 819px”/></p>
<p id=copyright infringement, always. Photo courtesy of D’Marie Productions.

For each edition of copyright infringement, Hendry creates hyper-realistic drawings based on the work of other artists. The film follows the competition’s fourth year, featuring fake Damien Hirst one-off paintings artfully packaged in paint cans. (“He’s a complete asshole. He’s very successful,” Hendry said of the British entertainer in the film. “I think… he’s brilliant.”)

Then Hendry prints his designs on t-shirts, packs them in bright red boxes labeled “Copyright Infringement/Trash Only”, and leaves at dawn to leave them in public places, documented in his stories. Instagram, so fans can come and find them.

The first edition came about when Hendry realized she couldn’t sell her t-shirts of her crumbled Andy Warhol photography designs without risking legal action, but it seemed a shame to destroy the merchandise. .

“Damn. We’ve already spent $20,000, let’s at least have some fun with it,” she said in the film. “It became phenomenal things that happened completely by accident.”

Cj Hendry in Copyright Infringement posting the location of a box to his IG story in Mexico City, Mexico.  Photo courtesy of D'Marie Productions.

Cj Hendry in copyright infringement posting the location of a box to his IG story in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo courtesy of D’Marie Productions.

The excitement that surrounds copyright infringement immediately appears in the film. One of the first shots zooms in on a woman wearing hair sheets and a face mask coming out of a Soho salon to snatch a box from Picone’s hands.

Part of the appeal, of course, is that for most fans of the self-taught artist, his work is way too expensive. They can go to Hendry’s immersive art exhibitions—the most recent featured a indoor playground for adults who mimicked the colorful lines of his “Plaid” designs – but they can’t afford to buy his laborious and incredibly detailed pieces.

THE copyright infringement the t-shirts are free of course, but you have to earn them with money. Owning and wearing one becomes nothing less than a badge of honor and a tangible reminder of the thrill of the hunt.

It was this frenzy experienced by himself that gave the film’s producer, Frank Spadafora, the idea for a documentary. He was following on Instagram for Copyright Infringement 1.0and even abruptly ended a Zoom call in an attempt to claim a fallen box near his apartment.

Copyright infringement, again.  Photo courtesy of D'Marie Productions.

copyright infringement, always. Photo courtesy of D’Marie Productions.

“Just imagine being like, ‘oh, I’m so sorry, you guys, I have to run.’ It was exactly like that, and I just bounced back. I was afraid I forgot the keys to my house – you just freak out because you’re like, ‘It’s happening,'” a Spadafora told Artnet News, “But that’s what’s so brilliant about it. As soon as she posts, just drop everything and run. Otherwise, you don’t get a box.”

Spadafora failed in his quest, but he felt an immediate sense of community when he showed up just in time to see another fan claim the prize. Two years later, when he slipped into Hendry’s DMs to suggest a movie, the artist was on board right away.

The film captures both the feeling of triumph for those who get their prize and the agony of defeat for those who are beaten.

“In Chicago, this woman, Morgan, followed us for six hours before she got a box. Another woman cycled 22 miles to try and get one,” Spadafora said.

Cj Hendry in Copyright Infringement after completing assembly of 50 boxes for the depot in Chicago, Illinois.  Photo courtesy of D'Marie Productions.

Cj Hendry in copyright infringement after completing the assembly of 50 boxes for the depot in Chicago, Illinois. Photo courtesy of D’Marie Productions.

The documentary also delves into Hendry’s unique place in the art world, managing gallery-less representation – and the logistical challenges of making the giveaway and staying one step ahead of fans.

Hendry prepares each drop in advance, but keeps the details a closely guarded secret. For the filmmakers, it’s been a tricky dance, reaching out to a small group of the most dedicated fans ahead of time to encourage them to document and film their efforts to be first on a drop site, without too much fuss. say.

“Imagine being a producer trying to make a movie about something that no one knows when or where it’s going to happen! It was a challenge,” admitted Spadafora.

Copyright Infringement 4.0– the penultimate edition of the series, which ended last year – began in Mexico City, where Hendry was unsure if there would be anyone following the fall. She needn’t have worried: even though they had left before dawn, it only took a few boxes before the first runner caught up with them, sprinting in a mad dash to grab the goods.

“There are so many beautiful interactions that happen. People hyperventilate, they get so excited,” Hendry said.

Watching the film, it’s easy to cheer on the runners, who are trying so hard to be the first down, even as the artist and his team do their best to evade pursuit.

“You obviously want people to get the boxes back,” Hendry admitted, “but when you’re in the car and you get chased, you’re like ‘go away, go away!'”

The documentary film copyright infringement screens at Brooklyn Film Festival, Windmill Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York on June 9, 2023, at 8 p.m.; and the New York Independent Film Festivalthe Producers Club, 358 West 44 Street, New York, New York, June 11, 2023 at 1:30 p.m.

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