Artist Troy Gua’s “Le Petit Prince” Thwarted By The Big Prince

Written by J.Monkey. Posted in Art, Spotlight

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Published on November 14, 2012 with 9 Comments">9 Comments

Artist Troy Gua combines his love for the Thunderbirds with his love for the true originator of purple swag, the one and only Prince, into his “Le Petit Prince” project. Recreating album covers as well as miniature garments of Prince in his various guises throughout the years, the project is a treasure trove of material recognized by many fellow fans of the purple one, including Questlove:

“Troy is a gifted artist with amazing vision and detail. The thoroughness in his works shines amazingly through. Truly in awe of his work and expect even more awesome things in the future.”

Troy himself describes it as such:

Le Petit Prince was made late in 2011 in an earnest attempt to simply make something that made me smile after a year of hard work trying to make ends meet as a working artist in Seattle. I’ve always been fascinated with Gerry Anderson’s ‘Supermarionation’ work, and Prince changed my life at an early age – I decided to pay a loving and humorous tribute to the artist that has influenced and inspired me like no other by sculpting and constructing a 1/6 scale artistic interpretation in the style of Anderson’s marionettes. It’s been a joy-filled project.

Unfortunately, the reason his project popped up on the radar today is because it will soon vanish. Troy Gua, who is a huge fan of Prince and intended his project as a tribute to the pop icon, has after many attempts finally come into contact with his inspiration, in the form of a cease and desist letter from his lawyers. Of course, since his project is not a commercial one (although there were plans for a book and he sold a calendar to fund the project) and he has actually refused requests of selling replicas of the puppet without Prince’s consent, he is well within his rights as an artist. Interestingly enough, he even releases his work under a non-commercial creative commons license so others may elaborate on his work. Understandably though, Troy Gua is unwilling to taint his affinity for the man’s work and does not wish to battle the object of his admiration. He does however, take offense to certain parts of the message he received and has replied to them in a the letter you can read at the bottom of this post.

It’s a nightmare for everyone working as a writer on music to meet an artist you greatly admire and have the encounter turn out on the opposite side of pleasant, to have an immense work you created burned to the ground by someone like that, I can only imagine as devastating. Le Petit Prince should disappear by November 15th, so hop on over quick if you wish to enjoy it while it lasts. We’ve uploaded some personal favorites for posterity’s sake to the gallery below.

Hello, Friends.

It is with a heavy heart that I write this – I have been issued a cease & desist order from Prince’s attorneys. This means that the Le Petit Prince project has reached its untimely end and must be removed from the internet by Friday, November 16, 4pm PST. There are many points touched upon in the order, and I will, of course, comply with their demands, whether I agree with them as matters of artistic freedom or not. I simply do not wish to fight with my hero, and it is terribly disheartening to think that he may hold ill will towards me and this project. I wrote back to the attorneys and told them I would indeed comply, but wanted to address some of the issues brought up in their letter. I’d like to share these paragraphs with you, which contains sentiments that I hold dear and true:

“Any products sold are returning no profit to me – they are simply a meager means to fund and continue the LPP project, which is a work of fine art. And this funding, I would argue, is anything but “ill-gotten gains”. That term pains me, as I do not intend, nor have I ever intended to profit from Prince without his consent. I have, in fact, refused countless pleas to recreate the sculpture and make it available for sale because I felt that that would indeed be attempting to profit illegally. The recreation of album art and iconic imagery, on the other hand, I felt was within my creative rights as an artist. This is artwork that I have made as a loving tribute to an artist that has inspired me for decades, and has shaped the person I have become. And this tribute has grown into something that I never foresaw nor intended – a joyful and positive experience for many, many people around the world. It has, to my utter amazement, brought so much happiness to so many, building a following and a momentum that has demanded it endure and expand.

I have, actually, attempted through modest connections to Mr. Nelson, to contact him to no avail. He is not an easy person to reach out to. I, on the other hand, am very easy to engage, and was actually, perhaps foolishly, hoping for contact from him regarding this project in a much more congenial form. If I had any possible way of reaching Mr. Nelson to ask him his thoughts on this matter or to propose a creative business venture, believe me, I would have. I would love nothing more, and would relish the opportunity to do so, still.”

The words “thank you” could never adequately qualify the truly staggering gratitude I feel towards everyone who fueled the passion for this project with their words of support and praise, with their love and positivity, and with their all around good will. This project grew into what it became because of you. Although I am saddened beyond words that it has reached its end, and that it has ended this way, I am also deeply grateful and happy beyond words that I’ve had this rare opportunity to make so many new friends, to make so many people smile, and to make so many tiny sets of funky clothes.

I hope we can continue to be in touch in another corner of this great big universe somewhere. And I hope you had fun. I know I did.

For LPP, Troy Gua signing off…


1982 was when Jaap van der Doelen aka J.Monkey shot his way out his mom dukes. A mere two years later he was already battling Big Brother and The Illuminati. Whenever he has time to spare from those efforts he writes (about music, mostly), hosts a radio show and designs graphics for a living. He lives in The Netherlands where he continues to be winning.

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  • Violet Aura

    Find another artist who appreciates your artistic ability.Best wishes to Troy~

  • Myles Matisse

    Troy should continue making more sculpture creations of Prince in his many stylistic outfits and moments in time. Keep them private and off the internet and in your own personal collection. One day when something ain’t in the water and all things compute, THEN make them public and share them to the world. If Prince means that much to Mr. Gua, he MUST continue with his Princely creations. It will nourish his soul and help fight back the cease and desist nonsense, if only personally.

  • PurpleTrekkie

    Dear Mr. Nelson,

    We know you’re super busy.. you said you *are* music so we know your engine is going 24/7, but, we the undersigned hereby respectfully request that you instruct your legal team to cease and desist from sending out Cease & Desist Orders w/o first reviewing all of the facts and evaluating each “case” individually.

    You know us… the Rude Boys, the Nasty Girls, Purple Hippies, True Funk Soldiers, and the “fams.” For 30-something yrs, millions of us have sat upon the cupcake, a glass of “purple” Kool-Aid in one hand, holdin’ that cherry in the other– our hands sticky like glue, and our arses almost* perpetually covered in frosting. Since the NPGMC glory days, we have supported you on efforts to stop bootlegging; you did the work, you should be paid for it. But, when there’s a phenomenally gifted artist like Troy Gua and his Muse guides him to pay tribute to you — because he has always been a fan of and inspired by you and your amazing body of work — why must he be shot down? Did James Brown or other legendary artists you admired and were influenced by send you C&Ds or seek a cut from all the millions you have earned over the past few decades emulating them in your artistry.. your music, your showmanship on stage?

    To refer to the sale of reproductions of Mr. Gua’s art work — not anything created by you/Camille/Jamie Starr/Bob George/TAFKAP/etc. — as “ill-gotten gains” is a grave insult. He only began to sell a few items of his own work to further fund the LPP Project itself as it was received so warmly worldwide.

    * I say almost b/c when you do stuff like this.. yeah, we still love you, but, you *really* turn people off. This wasn’t a repeat of; they sold calendars with real photos of you; Mr. Gua sold calendars and prints of his own art work inspired by you. This kind of bullying and intimidation by lawyers acting on your behalf makes us miss Michael Jackson even more. Michael Jackson would never have tried to sue a young mom for putting a clip on YouTube of her baby dancing to one of his songs as it played on the radio (or by any other means). And, he was honored and thankful to see works of art in tribute to him. He never made fans question his love & respect for or appreciation of them. Have you had your plus sign today — where’s the Positivity and Love 4 One Another… ‘member? You ‘member.

    Anyway, you/your legal team did somebody wrong, but, we have faith you can fix this. So, please– fix it. You didn’t like it when the PMRC tried to censor/kill your artistic expression; don’t do it to others – especially those who do so simply to honor you and not to make money off of you.


  • Ivan Houston Geoffrey-smith

    how about …the purple community….( a few of us still hanging on….but for how long?) petition against this? it`s silly…petty…and anti art….He needs to know this stuff is losing him (fams) hand over fist.

  • MB

    interesting: An Arist (Prince) who hate his Fans . . .

  • :-/

    The tears are running down my legs :-) , … all Troys LPP projects were a simple copy of Prince (where is creativity in it ?)… Troy just get over it :-) , u are gifted person u can make something better and 100 % oryginal. Do U mean to make Prince happy ? , im sure this exactly bussines could make happy U and X, Y, Z (who knows with who had u talk about your plans ?) … I dont know why people( read Fans) cant see your game .

    • :-/

      im pissed off this bussines_business plan , sorry, since Troys LPP started life in net , sorry indeed

  • lee williams

    Prince has every right to not want the dolls or his likeness too continue. It is in his image and he has the right to ask that it stop. There is nothing wrong with admiring our favorite artists, but along with that admiration we should also respect the persons right to privacy and if they ask us to stop using their likeness or image we should respect that as well. Troy Gua is a very good artist and captured Princes’ images very well, but all things come to an end eventually.

  • feezius

    lee williams makes a good point. while prince can be a bitch from time to time about legal things and infringements, it it at the same time understandable that he doesn’t want something that he didn’t create associated with his image (read: business). artists are people too, and let’s be real Prince is the exhibit A of artists who have been screwed by industry bureaucratics, (his beef with Warner Bros. is legendary) so i trust he is quite familiar with being screwed as an artist, and is extremely reluctant to experiment with different ways of being screwed over, intentionally or unintentionally. Troy’s work is extremely incredible and imho, is an awesome interpretation and tribute to Prince’s image. but as with all great art, it has the potential to backfire and turn into something that Troy didn’t anticipate. it’s up to Prince to decide what artists he wants to make dolls of him, because he is Prince, and it’s his likeness, and body, which in the entertainment industry is what puts food on the table. The cease and desist order, is at the same time an acknowledgement of Troy’s talent, and the quality of his work, because if it wasn’t major, he wouldn’t be asked to stop, but it is also an acknowledgement of the fact Troy’s art is (whether in tribute or not) based in the likeness and image (read: business) of Prince. and in the entertainment industry that’s a big no no. so although I am extremely sad to see that this project has to end. I can’t be too upset, because art in the modern world especially art such as this, is un/fortunately(?) buried in the context of capitalism and hence, still has to conform to industry regulations and laws. The strong legalese language, I’m sure is nothing personal, but Prince’s lawyers are getting paid by the diva himself to make sure he doesn’t get inadvertently screwed by admiring artists seeking to pay tribute and accidentally having to pay lawsuits. I really hope Troy continues his excellent work and is in no way disheartened by this, because this is fucking fantastic! Peace, Love & Funk.