Trouble is brewing for the team behind the highly anticipated Weather Report NFT collection. In essence, the original artist who created the collection’s well-admired art is claiming unfair treatment by the project founders. Of course, the dramatic story has traveled far on NFT Twitter all of today. Let’s unpack the events that led to this.
Dentin, the artist behind the Weather Report NFTs, speaks out
The current drama around the Weather Report NFT project began earlier on Feb. 16th. Dentin, the founding artist of Weather Report, sent a tweet saying “WEATHER REPORT EXPOSED” along with a link to a nine-page document.
Dentin also tagged the three core team members of Weather Report: Founder and creative director Zach (@ZachGoesHard), Founder Will Nichols (@nevermindwill), and co-founder Toby Lasso (@tobylasso).
To sum up the document, Dentin himself lays out his stance in the closing section of the document. He says,
“I am the founding artist of Weather Report. The artistic vision is my own. I created all of the illustrations that launched Weather Report into the brand it is today. My artistic vision and creation is still being used by the brand to this day.”
Dentin supplies screenshots of different emails and messages between himself and the Weather Report founders to help back up his claims. Namely, that he is the creator of the base Weather Report NFT character, and that Weather Report is ripping off his work at this point after kicking him off the team.
The team’s relationship struggles started with revenue splits
In essence, the relationship between Dentin and Zach & Will went sour went Dentin asked the pair to negotiate his share of sales revenue. Zach and Will initially offered Dentin a 5% share. Dentin felt that the percentage was unfair, given how important his creation was to the success of the Weather Report brand thus far.
However, according to Dentin, rather than negotiate, Zach and Will simply kicked him off the team. And to add insult to injury for Dentin, Zach and Will continued to use his base character for the Weather Report NFTs. They simply hired other artists to copy the style that Dentin created.
Despite the potentially huge sum of money that the Weather Report NFTs were likely to bring in, Dentin maintains that this isn’t an attempt to get the money he feels he deserves. To that end he says,
“I do not seek any specific outcome from this. Only that people know my side of the story so they can make decisions for themselves.”
Even so, Dentin later tweeted out another document. This time it was the cease and desist letter his lawyers sent Zach and Will on Jan. 31st. Clearly, Dentin doesn’t want to see the Weather Report founders going on to profit from his work with the current state of their relationship.
Is the NFT space living up to its supposed pro-artist values?
The incident has sparked an important conversation on the challenges facing the artists behind major pfp NFT projects like Weather Report. Particularly, when it comes to how NFT projects pay their artists.
Dentin joined a Twitter Space specifically created to air his version of events. This came after the Weather Report team held their own Space, reportedly downplaying Dentin’s contributions.
The space also gave a platform for others to speak on their experiences with the Weather Report NFTs’ founding team. One artist even took the stage and defied an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). He did this to illustrate what he called Weather Report’s exploitative practices.
All in all, the Twitter Space highlighted some important questions the NFT community has to address. Without a doubt, artists for major avatar projects too often have the value of their work minimized. In fact, aside from NFTs where the artist is also the project founder, artists can be kept from sharing in a project’s success.
This is despite them ultimately being the ones creating the images. The ones that NFT projects build entire brands around. Dentin sums up the contradiction of this situation well, saying,
“This proposal is akin to the deals that have been given to musicians by the predatory major labels for years. If this is the standard being set by leaders in this industry, then we are far from the for-artist-by-artist Web3 philosophy that we preach.”
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