Barcelona artist Yago Hortal has filed a lawsuit against London-based label Preen,accusing them of plagiarizing over thirty of his paintings without his knowledge, according to Spanish news agency Efe.
Hortal initiated legal proceedings against Preen in London, after failing to negotiate a deal with the fashion label founded by husband and wife team Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. The young artist states he discovered the illegitimate copy of his designs “almost by accident” when a friend of his living in the US told him he had seen a photograph of British cook Nigella Lawson wearing a print dress which bore “identical motifs” to one of his paintings.
The artist claims that 33 of his paintings have been used in fabrics for Preen's designs, but adds that they may have copied more of his work as the company “refuses” to give him any information regarding the nature of their designs. His artwork can be found online through his own website as well as numerous Internet blogs, but the resolution from the images is not large enough to use for textile print.
After Hortal contacted Preen, the fashion label stated that they did not copy his work, adding that other artists have a similar style to his and their designs were inspired by this style. Hortal admits that there is a link between his work and paintings from other famous artists which were made between 2009 and 2011 but is adamant Preen copied his work.
He has been working on the legal dispute for the past nine months, but the legal process is both slow and costly. “The company knows I am small and is trying to make me spend all my money and ruin me,” declares Hortal, who has had less time to focus on his artwork since starting the lawsuit.
His lawyers in London note that the “process can take about a year,” and Hortal claims to have spent 30,000 euros so far on the lawsuit. However, “despite the expensive trial” he will not back down until the case has run its course.