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.
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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…