Chris Devins, a self-proclaimed artist and urban planner is under fire for blatantly stealing the work of Gelila Metiti Mesfin. Mesfin is a young painter and digital artist. Devins reproduced her work without her permission to create a mural in Chicago. He even raised nearly $12,000 via Crowdfunding for the endeavor.
After a Twitter post, featuring an image of the mural went viral, several people called attention to Devins’ plagiarism. Apparently Devins, who gave interviews to DNA Info – Chicago, and a local FOX News affiliate, implied that he had created the work on his own.
Chicago's South Side really has no chill… pic.twitter.com/x7PSZA8X6g
— #FreeBresha (@prisonculture) April 21, 2017
Mesfin called him out on her Instagram page. “[H]ow can you go on record and say you designed this… this is so disheartening and so disrespectful on so many levels,” she wrote.
The post attracted nearly 4,000 likes and over 700 comments.
How can you just steal someone's artwork… someone's hard work and claim it like it's yours… how can you go on record and say you designed this… this is so disheartening and so disrespectful on so many levels… like this man seriously created a gofundme page, raised money and did this… it's one thing to share or even profit from someone's work but to claim it as yours is just wrong! Thank you to those who DM and messaged me to let me know what was going on @dnainfochi you guys should take this article down because this man stole this. I wouldn't mind if he had given me credit or said he took the design from another artist but saying you designed it is just wrong! The man is a teacher for God's sake and said he was doing this to create positivity for his students and community… but he didn't think that stealing a young girl's artwork and making a profit out of it does more damage than good.
Supporters of Mesfin began calling Devins out on Twitter and Facebook. After several tweets gained traction, Devins offered a series of lame statements, which he eventually deleted, taking little responsibility for his actions. He even updated his GoFundMe page with a new message, attributing his image theft to the “re-mix culture” that we live in. Several Twitter users also pointed out the optics of a white man stealing work from a black woman (it turns out Devins is mixed).
According to Mesfin, who posted an update on her Instagram page, Devins reach out to her, and they are in talks to resolve the situation. She also urged for peace and positivity. Devins, on the other hand, has spent the better part of the weekend posting and deleting a series of bizarre Tweets and Facebook statuses. So far he’s called the women criticizing him “high school dropouts,” decried feminists, especially black feminists, and allegedly called one user a “bitch.”
In the midst of Devins’ Twitter meltdown, several sites have picked up the story, including Jezebel and New York Magazine. As of this post, Devins is still being called out.