An Interview with Troy Gua: The Artist Formally Stifled by Prince

An Interview with Troy Gua: The Artist Formally Stifled by Prince @troygua

Those who follow us know we love Prince, but were definitely taken aback when friend to the site and amazing artist in his own right, Troy Gua, received a cease and desist letter based on Troy’s incredible creation, Le Petit Prince, a mini version of the musician.    We had just conducted a great interview with Troy so we joined the rest of the web in our collective disapproval.  Since then, Troy has kept it moving and continues to create very inspired works including very realistic dolls of he and his wife.  We recently saw an updated check in with Troy and wanted to keep you all posted on this cool cat from the Northwest! Enjoy!

From the OC Weekly:

Prince is officially dropping a $22 million lawsuit against 22 fans, whom he accused of “massive infringement and bootlegging,” since the targeted fans have since removed links to footage of his live performances.

Seattle-based artist Troy Gua is another fan familiar with the demands of Prince’s attorneys. In 2012, he received a cease and desist notice from his favorite artist, after he recreated famous Prince moments and album covers using ‘Le Petit Prince,’ a doll he sculpted in the likeness of the Purple One. Gua has successfully (and optimistically) turned the threat of legal action from Prince into a marketing strategy; and credits the end of his ‘Le Petit Prince’ series for spawning the birth of his latest self portraiture series.

Here’s what Gua had to say about his idol, fair use, and a famous fan–Questlove.

OC Weekly (Jena Ardell): Besides Prince, have you ever faced friction from other celebrities or musicians whose likeness you have used in your work?

Troy Gua: Not one. In fact, the Bruce Lee estate was so taken with a portrait I made in my ‘Pop Hybrid’ series of Bruce and Brandon Lee, that they purchased the rights.

The Prince likeness was incredible. How long did it take to create Le Petit Prince? And why Prince?

Thank you! I’d say it took about 30 years of research, about a week of actual work sculpting, painting, compiling and making.

I became a Prince fan in the early ’80s as an awkward 13 year old in the throes of puberty who didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin. I was shy, nerdy, creative, and just didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. Prince blew the doors off of all my angst. It was the music, yes, but it was much more than that. Back then, he had a message: we’re all freaks, and we should just love each other for who we are now, because this ride is a short one. It was about love and lust and joy and positivity and freedom of expression and sexual liberation. It was the perfect manifesto for me. I was in.
troygua3You had to have known you were treading in dangerous territory though, right? For example, in 2007, Universal Music Publishing Group requested a 29-second home video clip with 29 views of a 18-month old dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy” be removed from YouTube; and situations like that are not uncommon when it comes to the Prince…

I did know that, yes. I was aware of Prince’s overly litigious attitude for years, but the project was never meant to become what it did become. It was a therapeutic and fun side project after a stressful year that turned into something much more, and entirely unexpected.


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