What if you’d spent 20 years as an artist and writer whose evocative words and accompanying art touched such a chord they brought you an international following?
What if your words spoke to thousands, tens of thousands or even more, touched them so much that they purchased your very affordable prints and books again and again?
And what if that body of work, your blood, sweat and tears, became a pawn in a contentious divorce? And you lost the rights to it?
Welcome to the world of Brian Andreas, now known as Kai Skye, but known worldwide for his creative, poignant and expressive Storypeople.
Kai has lost the rights to the first 19 years of his work, the bigger part of his old brand. A brand that many of us have loved and appreciated for so long.
As a creative, myself, I am shocked and heartbroken for him. This has been a topic of discussion among my creative friends, because it is so horrifying. And so I want you to know a few things. Because I do creative work, myself, I decided people needed to know what they are actually buying. Especially people who have been buying Storypeople. Like me. I have at least two dozen of them.
Kai’s (formerly Brian Andreas) contractual arrangements were meant to protect his work but in the end, they didn’t. Part of it was likely luck of the draw: the judge. The result of any case is the product of the judge’s inclinations, lawyer skills and the law of the jurisdiction. And the testimony, of course.
What you should do to protect yourself
Few creatives starting out think that one day they’ll be an internationally renowned artist. But even if you are young, you should always plan for that to happen and to protect yourself and your work. At the very front end, get a good intellectual property lawyer. And I do mean a good one. Yes, it’ll be an investment. Yes, you have to do it to protect your work. Worth every cent.
Their job should be to anticipate every possible eventuality–even being turned on by family–and to protect your work in that event.
And yes, you need a pre-nuptial agreement and if you can’t have that conversation with your spouse-to-be, then there are bigger issues you might want to address.
But even with all that you could very well still end up losing–because the judge has so much discretion. So the judge can pretty much cost you everything. Scary and outrageous.
What you should know
1-The substandard work I see now being done at “Storypeople” is not Kai’s (Brian’s.) They are trying to imitate his brand (rather than create their own style and brand), and in terms of the work product, failing miserably. The words are flat and the drawings are bad imitations.
2-One of the issues seemed to be that his kids inspired his work when they were young. How a toddler or small child can own work of an adult artist/writer is beyond me. Lots of people have inspired my work, including my dogs, but that doesn’t mean they deserve the rights to my work.
3-When spouses feel fearful and want revenge, there is always a story there. At least two of them and maybe more. Those stories do not matter. Protect yourself–because I believe the work belongs to the artist/writer/creator (and that creator is certainly not a dog. Or a child).
4-If you buy from Storypeople today you are likely not buying work by the former Brian Andreas (now Kai Skye).
5-If you would like to be sure you are getting the real thing, you can find it at FlyingEdna.com and I encourage you to buy a piece or two to support him. Especially if you are a writer or artist, yourself. Perhaps you, too, will notice that his current work has renewed resonance. I have bought quite a few new pieces over the past six months. I love his new work as much as I loved the original brand he created. He did retain the rights to some of his Storypeople work and that is found on FlyingEdna, not on Storypeople’s site.
If you’d really like a treat, sign up for their regular newsletter. Kai and Fia (his partner in life and work) alternate writing it and she is an amazing thinker and writer in her own right. It’s the first thing I read when I wake up and sometimes, if I’m awake in the wee hours I check email to see if it’s arrived so I can read it then.
They say the only constant is change and I can’t imagine how hard this one had to be. But I am certain that it will all work out. Just as my current favorite angel says in the image. Which is, of course, one of Kai (Brian’s) new pieces.
There’s nothing like the real thing, and I say that on behalf of every writer, artist, creative person. Find Kai’s (formerly Brian Andreas’) current work at FlyingEdna.com and ignore inferior imitations.