Hi my name is Ryan, designer and founder of Sugoi Shirts.
I was incredibly disheartened to hear about the situation that came about with Toixx's artwork (featured on our ‘Karoshi’ t-shirt) ending up on our site. If you’re a fan of Toixx --this post is a little long--but I really hope you can take five minutes to read through it to realize this was a huge misunderstanding (the whole situation is fixed and we ended on extremely good terms)! If you're a Sugoi Shirts fan, I hope you can read through all of this to understand why we made the decision to remove our Karoshi t-shirt.
I would like to take a minute and tell everyone exactly how this artwork ended up on Sugoi Shirts 'Karoshi' t-shirt.
Back in January, I managed to find this awesome artwork under a Creative Commons with Modification licensed Google Search. For those who don't know, this style of search and license allows creators to modify upon any images that come up under the search results, for any reason or motive. I am a strong supporter of the license, as it really helps inspire creativity for all artists and designers like myself.
Before just two days ago, I had never heard of Toixx (sorry, Toixx) and because the artwork showed up under the Creative Commons with Modification search result I performed, it was appropriate (at the time) to modify upon the artwork for any reason (which I ended up doing and adding to my t-shirts). I used Toixx's image (not knowing who Toixx was or who the image even belonged to at the time) and beveled out a side of the original artwork with the Japanese kanji for the word "Karoshi" and rendered the new version to appropriately fit my shirts.
Doing that was completely legal and O.K., because under a Creative Commons with Modification license, the artists are automatically giving full permission for their images and/or artwork to be used and edited in any way imaginable.
Then two days ago, Toixx reached out to me.
I didn’t know who Toixx was or why Toixx was contacting me. I was honestly confused at the situation as it was all happening very quickly.
It soon became clear to me that the original image I modified on my 'Karoshi' t-shirt (as I called it) belonged to this talented artist Toixx and was never intended to be licensed under the Creative Commons with Modification search I did where I had found it. I felt terrible hearing this.
I was so shocked to find out that this image would come up in Creative Commons Google search to begin with and it was clear to me that Toixx wanted the art protected. It was a complete misunderstanding; an honest mix up and by no means did I intentionally go to Toixx's Tumbler page back in January of 2016 (because I didn't even know who Toixx was until now) and explicitly steal the art strictly to make a quick profit.
In the end, Toixx was very understanding of the whole situation. I made the decision to give Toixx every profited dollar from that specific shirt, because in the long run, it was Toixx’s artwork that earned it. Out of respect for Toixx, I also decided to completely remove the ‘Karoshi’ t-shirt from Sugoi Shirts site and discontinue the product. To all Sugoi Shirts fan’s reading this, I hope you can understand—it’s out of pure respect to Toixx’s wishes.
Before I end this long winded post, I would like to say though that I take great pride in what Sugoi Shirts is and how it’s grown since it’s inception last September of 2016. I am an anime and fashion fanatic, digital designer proficient in Photoshop and a web developer by day trade. I combined all three of my loves to form Sugoi Shirts. It’s somwthing I’m really proud of and I love the community that has generated around it. It makes me incredibly happy.
In terms of my catchphrase, “Original Anime Streetwear,” all of the designs you see on the shirts are created in one of three ways:
- Made completely from scratch in Photoshop, because like Toixx, I am a designer first and I love what I do. A good example to check out is my ‘Control’ t-shirt. That is 100% original and all designed and created entirely by me from scratch in Photoshop.
- Made from edited Creative Commons with Modification licensed works that I tend to overhaul and remix, if you will, to make my own through a lot of Photoshop work. A great example of this is my ‘1-800-WAIFU’ shirt. The anime girl in the corner was from a Creative Commons with Modification search, which I then enhanced and created everything else you see around her.
- Made through officially licensed artwork. If I decide to outsource any design work to artists, I will ALWAYS pay them for their work. Only two shirts on my entire site have been created this way thus far.
So there you have it. If you had any doubt about Sugoi Shirts, who we are, what we do and why we do it, hopefully your doubts have been cleared.
Toixx is an extremely gifted artist and I meant no harm. We both love what we do and we both understand each other’s situations. Toixx fans, please share this news with others. Sugoi Shirts fans, thank you for your understanding in our decision to discontinue our ‘Karoshi’ t-shirt.
Let’s all follow each other and make some really cool art.
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All the best,