This weekend Rihanna performed on SNL, and instead of the classic stage used for years, RiRi used a green screen to project what looked like old computer screen savers. But alas, these were not just someones old desktop background, they were in fact the work of web artists all of whom were not aware their art would be featured in the performance. Immediately following her performance web artists like Jerome LOL took to Twitter to let fans know they had nothing to do with the production.
“who art directed the Rihanna SNL performance?!” Tweeted Jerome LOL.
Web art lives in the far and dark corner of sites like Tumblr where artists share their latest creations. Their visual aesthetic is one directly born of the times. It is culturally relevant and yet many artists and fans would rather keep it a secret but now with Rihanna’s performance, this kind of art may become a fad trend and fast. Web artist and blogger Bebe Zeva also took to twitter to discuss her annoyance with the singer. She made points about RiRi not giving credit and stealing the work.
“…tomorrow, when it enters Phase Three and Forever 21 puts a price tag on it, it will no longer be exclusive. its purpose is gone.” Zeva Tweeted furiously.
A day after Rihanna’s performance, rapper Azealia Banks released a new video for her song “Atlantis” and the backdrop had the same concept. She used a specific web art called sea punk. Again fans and artists wondered why their work was being so freely used. It seems that anything on the internet can be used by anyone but as many avid followers of the moment will tell you, these artists spend just as much time creating a piece as traditional artists.