~ Izumi Shikibu
I have a dear friend who lives in Pretoria, South Africa. We met in a stairwell in 1999 at a conference in NYC, and have been like sisters ever since. A few years ago her car was burgled in a grocery store parking lot while she was inside buying milk. She lost irreplaceable intellectual property she’d spent years creating and didn’t have the money to replace the lost digital equipment.
When she told me the details, I asked her if she was ok, and she said, “I’m fine. This is South Africa. What happens to one of us happens to all of us. Why would I expect to be spared of the violence that is happening in my country to so many people…”
This was her response. No anger, no blame, no talk of injustice. Only compassion and understanding for the larger whole that was clearly broken.
Her wisdom is what I reached for as I tried to sort through how it was possible Kai (whose work most know under the name Brian Andreas) could lose a company he built, the studio with all his tools, his home, and 19 years of copyrights to an ex who had nothing to do with their creation or reach into the world. A large portion of his work is now completely at the discretion of family members who vilify his character behind the scenes and publicly lie about the roots of his work, yet continue to rely upon the history of the name and art of Brian Andreas for business…
This ruling means his ex now owns digital files of Kai's original work and the copyrights attached to those exact images and words, able to label them as "Brian Andreas" even though he no longer has any say about the quality or aesthetic in that work that still carries his name.
Meanwhile Kai was awarded with the entire body of original artwork that the digital files were created from, all of his notebooks - which contain the originals of every art and story that was sold under his name at StoryPeople - and full ownership of his copyrights from 2012 on forward into the future.
Kai does not create digitally. Everything he writes and draws and paints is done on paper or wood with brushes and ink or graphite. He then, himself, creates digital scans of these originals to be reproduced for production - creating the necessary changes between the mediums according to his aesthetic.
The real lingering issue is that the decree did not offer a clean split - not when the marital asset involves someone's reputation, name, and clearly identifiable work. It's like dividing an author's publications or a musician's body of compositions - and then giving the non-creator spouse - with whom there is an unhealthy relationship - not just full financial award from the work, but also permission to rewrite and move the words and notes around, while the original maker is still alive... with the added benefit of capitalizing on the artist's name and reputation in the marketplace. It gave someone permission to make knock offs of an artist's work. Someone with whom there is absolutely no working relationship...
As a fellow artist, all of this is shocking - but it's not Kai's loss that causes me to write. There will always be people in our world who lie. It's maddening because sometimes those lies are believed, with true impact on others' lives.
But it has always been this way in this country. We can only control the authenticity of our own voice, monitor our own intent with regular introspection, humility, and grace.
In this unparalleled time in our world's history, everyone is touched by profound loss and significant change. We are all rebuilding and redefining relationships and practices in this new world...
This is simply a note to say that Brian now creates under the name Kai.
As a step toward wellness and to move forward, Kai has decided to reserve use of his former legal name, Brian Andreas and continue to create under his new legal name, Kai Skye. We have created a unique studio signature we add to pieces so you know when you're working with and supporting the original artist.
Everyone is fighting for something these days. Kai and I keep our challenges in perspective, knowing many fight for far more than their voice as an artist...
This is my country. What happens to one of us happens to all of us.
As I think of my friend, I breathe deeply, and summon her grace and expanded heart. There is grief in loss, but there can also be freedom, an opportunity to reframe and rebuild. Which is what we've done here with Flying Edna.
It's a chance to see the moon...
always in motion,
p.s. Since there is nothing on the StoryPeople site that clearly states Kai is no longer part of the company, or points to where he and his new work may be found, we would greatly appreciate it if you would help spread the word that the artist Brian Andreas/Kai is here at Flying Edna.
We've been instructed by my lawyers to keep this post live so as to clear up any confusion that is now in the marketplace, as to what has been created by the actual artist versus any work that StoryPeople sends out with the name of Brian Andreas.