Former movie star of the 80’s and 90’s, Val Kilmer, has been sued by an artist for allegedly copying his sculptures without permission. While matters of art, inspiration, and similarity can sometimes be a fine line to walk when deciding what is and isn’t original, it appears as if Kilmer may have stepped over that line as reported by TMZ. The artist claiming Kilmer ripped him off, the world famous Bale Creek Allen, makes what some might consider to be a compelling argument in support of his allegation that Kilmer is copying his work.
Kilmer was largely out of the spotlight for a stretch of a several years, even though he was performing, or screening a film of his performance, of his one-man Mark Twain show. He was also selling everything from blankets, to tee-shirts, and pieces of metal with stenciled renditions of some of his better known characters painted on them, both online and at his one-man shows. He hadn’t received much press attention until he had what was described as a series of “creepy” tweets about his dreams of Cate Blanchett, as reported by the Daily Mail.
— I Know, Right? (@_I_Know__Right_) September 27, 2018
It was after that incident that Kilmer brought in a new social media team. In the time they were there, they had him do a Reddit AMA in which he finally admitted to a “healing of cancer,” that helped bring Kilmer to a new audience that had largely forgotten him, as can be seen by comments in the more than 2,400 response thread. At that point, Kilmer began marketing his art in earnest on Twitter, Facebook, and on Reddit.
Kilmer has been reported as trying to sell at least one tumbleweed dipped in gold for $150,000 as far back as 2016 per Barstool Sports. Allen said that when he saw the tumbleweeds Kilmer was selling, that he immediately felt like he was seeing his own art being ripped off according to The Daily Mail.
From that to this…..oh Val Kilmer…..tumbleweed sculptures? Come on! pic.twitter.com/54DT5D8z0L
— ☠️ Strictly Sassy ☠️ (@ShitJenelleSaid) September 27, 2018
Allen claims he has been making tumbleweed sculptures covered in a variety of metals, including gold, for years, well before 2016. A number of interviews and biographies of Allen, such as the one at Vision West Contemporary, support that, citing his shows featuring them going back to at least 2004. Allen alleges that Kilmer visited his studio in New Mexico and asked him about his sculptures, and his process of making them, but declined to buy one when he learned how much they cost, per Hollywood.com. TMZ reported that Kilmer told Allen “he couldn’t afford one.”
Newslocker reports that the lawsuit filed by Allen alleges that Kilmer is passing off that particular style of tumbleweed art as his own idea, when it is clearly Allen’s inspiration and idea. He is suing Kilmer for damages, and wants Kilmer barred from creating similar tumbleweed works now and in the future.
Neither Kilmer, nor his representatives, responded for comment according to TMZ. So far, Kilmer has been mum on social media regarding the allegation.