Thursday, April 29, 2010

Downgoing & upcoming

Back from a great show at the Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Fest. Thanks to Ben, Stacey and Marc for giving us the opportunity to darken Nashville's doors once again. This is always a great show with lots of friends in attendance. You'll have to take my word for it because we didn't take photos...except this one:

Me & Roni Jonah with the sketch of my next painting featuring Roni

This weekend we're headed to St. Louis for the first time for the city's first horror, sci-fi and pop culture convention, Con-Tamination. Guests? The 60s Batmobile, Seka, William Forsythe, Mike Christopher, cast and crew from Night of the Living Dead & Day of the Dead, Dee Wallace, Brinke Stevens, Ari Lehman and his band First Jason, Alex Del Monacco, April Hunter, J. Travis Grundon, and fellow artists Cypography, Joel Robinson, Dick Starr and Johnny Bopp. Methinks St. Louis will never be the same...

Some big news: Just found out where we'll be spending Halloween...Seattle WA! We're hammering out the details for my Artist GoH spot for ZomBcon Oct. 29 - 31. This will be our first trip to Seattle...I hope they have good coffee there...

New art, Rock 'n Roll Frankenstein:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nashville's Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Fest

I'm gonna be there this weekend. So will Dee Snider, Doug Bradley, Scout Taylor Compton, Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams, Ken Foree, Bill Johnson, Ari Lehman, Stacey Dixon, Al Snow, Jim O'Rear, Alex Del Monacco, Daniel Emery Taylor, Samantha Newark, Edward Holsclaw III, George Bonilla, Jason Crowe, Roni Jonah, World of Strange and fellow artists Jeff Preston,  Jeff Gaither, Cypography, Sam Flegal & Joel Robinson. Will you?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Conspiracy theories...

I love conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories, cryptozoology, histories mysteries, Forteana. All of it. That doesn't mean I believe in them. Just that they fascinate me. Especially the grand-daddy of all conspiracy theories, the Illuminati. dunh-dunh-duuuunnnhhhh!

As far as conspiracy theories go the one(s) pertaining to the Illuminati is/are the most diverse, far reaching, provable and disprovable of them all. If I had to put all the Illuminati myths in a nutshell it would go something like this: The Illuminati refers to a group of individuals that are involved in clandestine ventures of a global nature. The group was formed in pre-history and/or ancient Sumeria and/or ancient Egypt and/or medieval Europe and/or Renaissance-era Europe and/or Victorian-era Europe by aliens and/or sorcerers and/or keepers of an ancient technology and/or Jewish bankers and/or decedents of Jesus Christ and/or Freemasons and/or...well, you get the picture. The Illuminati may or may not be connected to organizations such as the New World Order, Knights Templar, OTO, Freemasons, the Catholic Church, CIA, Priory of Sion, Wicca, Bohemian Club, Skull and Bones, Satanism and so on, depending on which theorist you're listening to. Famous people with ties to the Illuminati range from Jesus Christ to Jay-Z and Lady Gaga with any and all world leaders included in this list.

One of the aims of the Illuminati is to rule the world. To achieve this the Illuminati use governments and/or banks and/or military and/or religions etc. Simple enough, right? Another tool used by the Illuminati are Manchurian Candidates, people brainwashed to perform an action, usually an assassination, when a code-word or some other trigger is given to them.

"Famous" Manchurian Candidates include Booth, Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, Hinkley and Charles Manson, which brings me to my point. There are websites out there that go into great detail connecting the Book of Revelations, the Beatles, Charles Manson, and everything connected with them to the Illuminati, or CIA. Or the New World Order. Or whatever. Manson's "teachings" are analyzed under a microscope in order to find these connections. And found they are. Everything from his quotes to the number of times a certain victim was stabbed. Everything has meaning. Interesting but do I buy into it? Not really. But I can't stop reading about it. (side note: Sharon Tate's death date is Aug. 9, 1969. If you turn all the 9s upside down you get 666! Eerie!)

The other day while browsing Wal-Mart (which is connected to Satanism and the Masons), I found that they had DVDs for $3! A lot of crappy ones to be sure but there was one with a documentary about Manson on it. A $3 DVD = my DVD. (I wonder if I should thank Satan or the Masons for the affordable entertainment?) During the documentary the image of Manson victim Leno LaBianca comes on screen. You know the one with the word "WAR" carved in his stomach?

I've seen this image dozens, if not hundreds of times, but as it flicked on my TV and back off something struck me as odd. The "W". Something about the "W" seemed over the top. Contrary to popular belief I have never carved into human flesh but I have carved into other soft materials and this seems like overkill to me. Could the flesh had been softer than the killer had thought? That would explain one or two legs of the letter but not a seemingly mirror or reflected image. And it seems as though great pains were taken to connect the two lines at the bottom. Why? My first thought was that they were trying to carve two "X"s but then my knowledge of conspiracy theories kicked in and it hit me:

Of all the weird and seemingly out in left field theories I have read no one has ever made this "connection". Why is that? It seems like a no-brainer to me. I am not going to theorize or speculate on anything. I am just putting this out there because I find it extremely strange that this hasn't been brought up. And I wanted to be the first to bring it to the public. I am also aware of the unfortunate side effect that putting this out there also puts out there the fact that I know a lot about a lot of crazy/stupid/weird shit. But I'm OK with that. 

Again, I'm not associating Manson and the Masons. I just think that people that do have missed an important piece of their "puzzle". And is it just me or does anyone else find it strange that there is only one letter difference in Manson and Mason? I'm just sayin'...

Talk amongst yourselves about the evils of Freemasonry, hippies, rock music, the CIA, and sex magick cults. And in the meantime enjoy these fun links:
Manson's interpretation of Revelations
Evil Beatles
Manson, the Process Church and Son of Sam
Manson: Programmed assassin for the CIA
The Reptilian Agenda (I didn't mention them but read up on the Reptilians before reading their agenda)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Copyrights? Again?

So my wife tells me I'm beginning to be preachy. Some of my friends now look at me as though I am ringing a bell and wearing a huge placard that reads "The End Is Near!" whenever I mention the subject. I don't care. I feel that intellectual rights are in mortal danger right now. As I type this evil forces are gathering together, preparing for the next wave of attacks on our rights as creators. A little dramatic? Maybe. But it's true.

The other day a link was passed around on Facebook. Not one of those links shared by your friends and family but one of those links that are passed among industry professionals like top-notch illustrators, art directors, publishers etc. The link was to the blog of artist Chris Buzelli and the title of the post was "I need a web posse!". I recommend reading the blog for yourself but the short of the story is a guy that writes a blog for a CBS website used one of Chris' pieces as an illustration without permission, which as we all know is illegal. The thief goes through great lengths to defend himself. His various defenses include:
1. I gave credit so it's OK.
2. I'm doing the artist a favor by getting his work "out there" for potential clients to see.
3. It's covered under Fair Use clause of the Copyright Law.
4. It was a small image so that doesn't count as art.
5. It was the artist's fault because he didn't take the necessary precautions, i.e. watermark, disable right click-save as, etc., to prevent me from taking it.
6. I'm in a hurry to write so I can make money so I don't have time to ask for permission to use art or to find copyright free stock art.
7. Copyright laws are outdated therefore need to be broken.
8. I'm not making any money from it so it's OK...

...and there's more! He then writes an article teaching artists how to prevent their art from being used without permission! And after CBS chastises and publicly apologizes for his behavior he goes on to write two more articles on his personal site. One talking about how if it's OK to use art that is copyright free all art should be free and a suggestion on how to grant usage permissions for art online or some such nonsense. I stopped reading. But  the real education came from the comments left on his articles. Out of the literally hundreds of comments there have been less than 10 defending him. All have been trying to get him to see the error of his ways. The real heartwarming part is realizing that here is an issue that everyone that has a stake in agrees on! What do we agree on? Copyright laws are necessary for the protection of artists and creators. Period.

Before I go into my rant any further let me add this little anecdote.After reading about this for the first time I decided to run a little search for some of my stuff. So I go to which is a reverse image search engine. You type in an image URL or upload an image and TinEye will find other instances of that image on the web. It ain't perfect but it is getting better. And I have caught numerous art thieves in the act using this little gem, not just stealing my art but the art of others.

I do a search of my Color Zombie Sam. One of the hits is from a horror blog. I click the link and thinking I will find an article about me or my image or t-shirt as I stumble across from time to time I actually find a blog post in which the author is proclaiming the he is now on Twitter and everyone should follow him. My Zombie Sam is just stuck there. No mention of him. No link back to me. No mention of my name. Below is the cease and desist email I sent (identities have been altered because I do not believe in promoting those who steal from me):


Dear Mr. Doe
I, Billy Tackett, am the proprietor of all copyright in a artistic work entitled Zombie Sam 2 (The "Work"). I have reserved all rights in the Work, which was first expressed in material form on 2005 and can be seen in its original form at

It has come to my attention that you are displaying this Work in one of your blog posts http://insert_offending_web_page_here. Image is hosted here: http://insert_offending_image_url_here_webzombiesam2.jpg

Permission was neither asked nor granted to reproduce my Work and your Work therefore constitutes infringement of my rights. In terms of the Copyright Statutes, I am entitled to an injunction against your continued infringement.

In the circumstances, I demand that you immediately remove all infringing content and notify me in writing that you have done so.

Thank you for your cooperation.
Billy Tackett
Billy Tackett Studios
His (unexpected) reply:

You can stop with the legal mumbo jumbo Billy.  I wasn't trying to rip you off and I certainly wasn't making any money off your zombie image.  I came across that particular image online and really liked it.  That's it.  I also wanna repeat that my website is completely free and I HAVEN'T MADE ANY MONEY off your image.

The image of concern has been removed from my website on April 7, 2010 @ 2:10pm.

No offense was meant.
This response is coming from someone who 1. is a novelist, 2. is a fervent "supporter" of indie horror 3. displays advertisements on the offending blog. Which one of these should I tackle first? Since this is a post about copyrights let's do #s 1 and 3. Number 2 is a whole different issue that I will post about in the near future. 

I was amazed that here in two different instances with two different artists dealing two different image thieves in similar career fields (writing) with some of the exact same attitudes towards art. What the hell?? As a writer One would think that these two individuals would be a little more sympathetic to copyright laws. I mean the very same laws that protect their intellectual works also protects mine. Could it be that these guys just see themselves and their careers as a little better than us and ours? That would have to be it because they HAVE to know copyright laws. It's part of their jobs to know these things. Copyright laws are the one mighty weapon creators have against large unscrupulous companies and other ne'er-do-wells. They are our safety net. Copyrights laws are the reason I and others can put our art online. 

I have written about copyrights before. The first time was my feelings about image stealing that I won't re-hash here but if you want to read them go here
The second time was concerning artists as image thieves here

Here is my (restrained) reply to the offender:

As a professional artist whose images are stolen often the legal mumbo jumbo is an unfortunate necessity. I appreciate that you like my image but the facts are if you use my image without permission it is copyright infringement whether money is made or not. As a writer you should be appreciative to the intellectual rights of creators. I make my living from my art. People pay me to use my art. It isn't fair to them that you get to use it for free. Maybe you didn't make any money from it but you obviously saw some quality in it that made you want to associate it with you. It is my art, I own the copyright. That image is my trademark image. I get to choose how it is used. My art is free to view but not free to use.

Would you want someone to copy and paste your blog comment onto theirs without credit? 

Thanks for understanding.
Several weeks ago I posted an update on the Orphan Works legislation and got into a discussion with someone who was pro-Orphan Works. Their argument was that all information on the internet should be free for all. A noble ideal. But if everything belongs to everybody then that is really freakin' close to Communism. And we all know how that turned out. Plus I don't like to work my ass off just so someone else can enjoy the fruits of my labor. That, my friends, is bullshit. 

 "The information age is making all copyright laws obsolete. Digital information belongs to everybody. Open-source is the way of the future. Utopia is not far off. Unicorns are just around the corner. I poop rainbows." Bullshit. How do I know it's bullshit? Because very large companies, like Google, and very influential lawyers from very expensive universities, like Stanford, and highly paid lobbyists are fighting for the passage of the Orphan Works legislation (which will effectively render copyrights useless and allow free use of all art, in a nutshell). If there wasn't some way for someone to make money from our art they wouldn't be trying so hard. I think this is the fifth or sixth year in a row they have tried to get this passed. Our art has value to them, they just don't want to pay us. My art had value to this horror blogger, he just didn't want to pay me. 

The stars and rainbows commies think that the internets should be free needs to wake up. Nothing is free. The very large companies, like Google, will hire very influential lawyers from very expensive universities, like Stanford, and highly paid lobbyists to figure out a way to make money from it. Making money is what makes the world go 'round. It's the modern day version of hunting and gathering. It's survival. I need to make money to live. I do that by making art. I put the art online. You can look at it for free but if you want to use it you have to pay me for it. So the internets is free after all ;-) 

And don't give me shit about be a capitalist schmuck! Artists have been making money from their art since the dawn of civilization. In ancient times artists, sculptors and the like were held in high regard. Right up there with high priests and physicians. And art was an industry right up until the mid-1800s when some dumbasses decided to propagate the whole idea of art for art's sake. True, I love making art so much that I would still do it if I didn't make money from it but I can make money from it! And I will. And I don't feel bad for it. Carpenters do it. Mechanics do it..make money from doing something you're good at and love doing, that is. 

The whole money making issue aside, if our art becomes free for anyone to use that means it becomes free for anyone to use...for any purpose. Take my Zombie Sam for instance (everybody else does ba-da-boom!), when I painted I had a specific idea in mind behind the painting. My own motivations for doing it. Mainly I love America and I love zombies. I am very patriotic by the way. If copyrights are done away with I would have no say in who uses this image for what purpose. So our local KKK could use this on their website to further their cause. Or some local faction of Al Qaeda could use it in their propaganda. Or any number of people or groups that I wish to have absolutely no connection with whatsoever could use it. Bullshit.

And just because someone isn't making money with my art doesn't mean I'm not. And I reserve the right (there's that word again," right") to do so. And if that someone is allowed to use my art for free it really isn't fair to those that actually pay to use it. But copyrights just don't pertain to money. Copyrights are just what they sound like, the rights to make copies. Money doesn't factor into copyrights unless a lawsuit is filed against an infringer.

The pro-Orphan Works person told me "If I ever created anything of value I would give it away for free". I'm not against giving your shit away for free. After all, it is your shit and you get to decide who does what with it. I love free shit, myself. Open-source software rocks. I use a couple programs myself. But don't begrudge me because I don't give my shit away. 

I hear people bitch about Metallica. "They lost so much street cred when they took Napster to court. Corporate douchebags!" Why? Because they expect to get paid for services rendered? Why shouldn't some really talented guys make money from doing what they do best? Fortunately the musicians have the music industry behind them. We artists are not lucky enough to have an entire multi-billion dollar industry fighting for us. True, we don't have to deal with the corporate greed but it would be nice to have some very well paid lawyers at my fingertips.

When it comes down to it we just want to get paid for our hard work. We aren't divas. We aren't jihadists, nor are we drama queens and kings or cry babies. We don't want to use the "legal mumbo-jumbo" but because our rights aren't being respected we have to. We are in a struggle. I feel we are on the verge of some major changes. I just want to make sure the changes are for the best. And what is best for the artist is best for the arts. If the internet becomes a free-for-all copyright free stock image provider we professional artist will take our images down. That isn't some threat. It's what will happen. Once we're gone all you will have to choose from is half-assed anime fan-art by seventh grade special ed students and none of us want that.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Gallery Opening Saturday night!

As some of you know I was part of the More Than Ink show at Art on the Levee in Newport.

Bad news: The show is over. Thanks to everyone that stopped by, and keeps stopping by, to buy prints. My zombie art is gone...

Good news: The gallery has asked me to display some of my fine art! That means new art that most of you have never, ever seen! It also means that my prints with the one-of-a-kind, hand-splattered mats will still be there.

Better news: The official opening is this Saturday from 4pm to 9pm...And we'll be there!

Best news: If you buy a print with a one-of-a-kind, hand-splattered mat on Saturday I will also remarque it for free! For those that don't know a remarque is a little sketch. So I will draw on your crap for free!

Art on the Levee
1 Levee way
Newport, KY, 41071

(859) 2615770

Horrorhound re-cap

We do a lot of shows. Last year we did 27 events which included horror conventions, tattoo fests, gaming expos, concerts and so on. And without fail, regardless of how successful our outing were, you ask your fellow vendors and artists how the event was for them and you get everything from "This sucked!" to "So-so" to "Seen better" and even the occasional "This rocked!". Most of the time you get all those comments from the same event! Horrorhound Indy was an exception. Every single person I talked to said the same thing: "This rocked!". But for us the event had a rocky start...

It was one of those days when everything you touch turns to shit. Not in a bad way but in a bunch of little ways. Like when you pick up a box and the bottom falls out or you open your car door and smack the Lexus next to you by accident. Crap like that. But we did get to have eats with Jim O'Rear and Cameron Scott before the show opened. And after the doors opened it was all a big blur...
The attendees were awesome! People were buying stuff and laughing and having a good time. It had a very festive atmosphere. It could have had something to do with the Horror Host tribute to Vampira that HH was hosting. Or maybe it was the Maskfest going on there as well? I don't know what it was but magic was happenin'!

We had the opportunity to meet up with some old friends like Dick Starr and Heidi, Johnny Bopp, Mike Christopher, Cherokee Hall, Jeff Preston, Dave Dyer from Con-tamination, Robert from Cypography, Dr. Ivan Cryptosis, Hellga from The It's Alive Show, Ari Lehman, J. Travis Grundun, the good folks from Night of The Living PodcastJoel Robinson, TB Gallery, Elizadeth Hetherington, animator Donald Stout (with whom I am working on a top secret project...ssshhh!) among others.
We made some new friends this round as well. Most notably was Menton J. Matthews III. If you aren't familiar with Menton you really need to go to his site. Do it now! I also had the honor to finally meet Daniel Horne. This guy is a master, literally and figuratively. He was set up in the Maskfest showing off his sculpting abilities. The things that this man does is unbelievable! And the really cool thing? He recognized me and knew me by name (insert fan boy squeal here). But seriously, he was super nice and it was unfortunate that we were so busy that I didn't have time to talk with him more. Also had the opportunity to exchange a few pleasantries with another master, Tom Savini.

And there were tons of fans. Most notably was Dawn who, after telling me I was her favorite artist, asked me to sign her foot which she had permanently tattooed the next day! I can't even get Heather to do that!
I wish I had time give a play by play but I got deadlines!  So here's a few pictures instead...

Dude loves him some Big Dead Machine!

Me and Hellga

Me and Menton

Jim O'Rear finds a long, lost sibling.

And my autograph tattooed on a fan's foot!