herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Who knew you could make this kind of CASH from being an artist?

A few years ago, I invited a film crew into my apartment, and having had a quick look around, they asked me did I know who had painted the various pieces of art that hung from my walls.

Having answered that yes, I did, the follow-up question was even more curious. Did I know how to contact them? The film company, you see, needed to get permission from the artists before they could start shooting.

I remember the apparent absurdity of this - after all, why can't I do what I want with the paintings, having bought them outright? Furthermore, on the off chance that their work was recognised in the split second it appeared, what artist would turn down the publicity of having it on TV?

Yesterday, I discovered the answer to the last question. Kevin Sharkey.

And with impeccable timing, on the very weekend that Panti was back on The Saturday Night Show, having shot to fame nine months ago when her comments about homophobia resulted in RTE paying out nearly €100k in damages and costs, another handing over of taxpayers' money by RTE to settle a writ has been announced, though with considerably less fanfare.

Because buried away in a newspaper yesterday was the revelation that RTE have paid an "undisclosed sum" to artist Kevin Sharkey, arising out of the unauthorised use of his work during the first two seasons of Love/Hate in 2010/2011.

The makers of the show, it seems, were remiss in not getting Kevin's permission for having three of his paintings visible on the walls of drug dealer John Boy's apartment. Explaining his decision to sue, Kevin said: "My decision to pursue the producers is purely a legal matter. Having my work portrayed as liked by a dangerous killer and drug addict is the problem."

One could be very cynical about Sharkey's claim to have suffered damage as a result of the action of the producers of Love/Hate.

Following the collapse of his art gallery businesses at the start of the recession, he revealed to a newspaper that he was broke in 2010. So what did he do? Well, our Kevin became a gigolo, hiring himself out to both men and women at €250 an hour. The way you do.

"In truth, there are other types of work I could have done," admitted the artiste. "But I wanted to work my own hours and be my own boss and €250 an hour beats the f**k out of the minimum wage."

Quite how his revelations about being a hooker would not damage his career as an artist, but the presence of some of his paintings on the walls of a fictional drug baron would, is a moot point.

Even more curious is the fact that Nidge is consistently seen driving around in BMW and Lexus cars, yet I'm not aware of these global brands complaining about how sales of their cars have been damaged by their association with a fictional crime boss.

These are questions we'll never have answered, however, as the case was settled on the steps of the High Court, with a confidentiality clause meaning we'll never hear the arguments debated and, more pertinently, never know how much taxpayers' money RTE have handed out again to a slighted artiste.

One thing is pretty sure, however. Due to RTE's carelessness, Kevin Sharkey won't have to charge strangers for sex with him any time soon.

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