Thursday, September 25, 2008


I would like to post the letter Cathy and I have sent to the media in regards to the current Bay's campaign.

We would like to draw your attention to the current marketing campaign of the Bay and its similarities to the concept of a North Vancouver art gallery, and the visuals of Biliana Velkova, an artist represented by them. The basis of our concern is that the Bay is using the phrase "Live Artfully" to express the identical concept as tartooful for it's big fall promotion. Tartooful has used the phrase "live Artfully" on hang tags, the shop window, advertisements, and in promotional material since opening in March of 2007. Tartooful's concept is at the heart of the business - it's the reason the shop was founded, and it still informs every purchasing choice made. A brief description of the tartooful values can be found here. The idea of daily objects as art and making ritual out of routine is one that the press has found unusual and appealing, so we been fortunate to receive some press coverage in the first year, including articles in Canadian House and Home, The North Shore News, The Outlook,, Flare, and others. Here's the link to tartooful's press page.

In addition, the images being used by the Bay in their campaign are very strongly reminiscent of the work of artist Biliana Velkova, whose works have been at tartooful since July of 2007. Please find attached some samples of her work, and photos of The Bay's "Live Artfully" campaign. You will also see examples of the Bay's images on their site. Biliana Velkova's art practice closely deals with issues of consumerism and fashion and she has been exploring those for a number of years. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and shown in local galleries. The work she exhibited at tartooful has very close resemblance to the current Bay's campaign, including the colours, rendering and approach and and marketing. More about Biliana's work may be found on her website.

Is it a coincidence that a major department store chain chose tartooful's concept and Biliana Velkova's visuals for a marketing campaign? Surely a major retailer, with a marketing and advertising budget to match, could generate original material to promote their company, and shouldn't have to resort to committing conceptual piracy on small independents.

Thank you for taking the time to review our material. We hope that you will be able help to draw the public's attention to this matter.


Cathy Church and Biliana Velkova

Another update: Thank you Kerri for writing about this issue on the Mercer Union blog.


Blogger Marusya said...

Well, I guess all you can do is make art about this. It's so simulacrous. You made a piece combining your original art with corporate signifiers. They made a corporate signifier with your original art. Sad. But also very trippy. I think you should exploit it to the max.

3:36 a.m.  

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