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Ariana Grande's music video (left), compared to Vladimir Kush's artwork (right)
Ariana Grande's music video (left), compared to Vladimir Kush's artwork (right)

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Ariana Grande sued by painter over image used in music video

An artist is suing pop star Ariana Grande for copying his painting in the video for her hit single "God Is a Woman."

In the video, Grande dances in a candle flame for about five seconds. This image is similar to a work by artist Vladimir Kush, who drew a painting portraying a tiny woman dancing within the flame of a candle.

“Defendants chose to use the same color palette, the same background of a cloudy sky, the same ring effect of the clouds around the flame, the same light beams radiating from the flame, and the same color candle, light fading to dark,” claims the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a court order to remove the video from the internet.

Kush, a Russian-born painter who is based in the United States, has said he is prepared to go after artists who appropriate his work without permission. In an interview with Artsy, Kush said: "They think it’s going to go unnoticed…they change a few shapes.…Maybe they think, Vladimir Kush, it’s a Russian name—maybe he’s far away, he’s not even going to notice, and he doesn’t have the capacity to do anything about it."

Unlike struggling artists who are afraid to sue because of the costs involved, Kush is a wealthy artist who is ready to use legal recourse. He claims his original paintings retail for US$30,000 to US$40,000 and can cost upwards to $100,000 for bigger works. Besides artwork he also has a Kush brand which sells sculptures, a jewelry line, books, perfume, and watches.

In 2007, Kush went after pop singer Pink for appropriating an image from his artwork in her music video. Pink settled the lawsuit in 2008 by paying an undisclosed sum.

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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

Press contact Managing Partner (+65) 6223 2249

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