BY Frieze News Desk in News | 05 FEB 19

Ariana Grande Hit by Painter’s Lawsuit After Allegedly Plagiarizing His Work in ‘God is a Woman’ Video

Vladimir Kush claims the pop singer’s visuals for ‘God is a Woman’ copies his paintings which depict a woman inside a candle flame

BY Frieze News Desk in News | 05 FEB 19

Ariana Grande, God Is a Woman, 2018, video still. Courtesy: YouTube

Ariana Grande has been accused of copyright infringement over an image that appears in her 2018 ‘God is a Woman’ music video after Russian-American ‘metaphorical realist’ artist Vladimir Kush filed a lawsuit in a Nevada court accusing the singer of plagiarism.

Kush alleges that a scene in the blockbuster pop singer’s music video which shows Grande dancing inside the flame of a candle resembles two 1999 and 2000 paintings by him which depict a silhouetted-woman as a candle wick. Cloudy blue skies appear in both the music video and the two paintings. The artist discovered the similarity when reading a Popsugar listicle detailing Grande’s video.

‘This depiction of Ms. Grande is strikingly similar to Plaintiffs’ copyrighted Works,’ the lawsuit, which was filed by Las Vegas entertainment attorney Mark Tratos, states. It also claims that the defendants chose to use ‘the same color palette, the same background of a cloudy sky, the same ring effect of the clouds around the flame, the same light beams radiating from the flame, and the same color candle, light fading to dark.’ The artist is seeking monetary damages as well as an order to remove the video from the internet. 

As well as Grande, the lawsuit also names the video’s director Dave Meyers and California company Freenjoy Inc as defendants. Both were also sued last year by artist Lina Iris Viktor for allegedly copying her paintings without permission in Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s ‘All the Stars’ music video.