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Viral Bristol bench plaque 'copied' from London artist

A plaque on a bench saying someone "knew" a man called Roger was an adulterer
Local residents said the plaque has become a something of a tourist attraction

An artist says a memorial plaque to an "adulterer" is almost a "word-for-word" copy of his art.

The plaque, on a bench on Royal York Crescent in Clifton in Bristol, mentions a person called Roger.

But no-one has claimed responsibility for the plaque, which has been shared widely on social media, and it is unknown if it is about a real person.

Artist The Misfortune Teller has claimed it is a "copy cat" version of something he created years ago.

He attributed the copying to "meme culture", but said art is his livelihood, and wants stronger laws to protect it.

The London-based artist, who did not want to use his real name for anonymity, claimed the concept was taken "from one of the first ones" he "mocked up".

Instagram post showing an older plaque about adultery
The artist posted the concept on his Instagram page on 13 August in 2020

"I made it four years ago on Photoshop and posted it to Instagram on 15 August," he said.

"They [the bench plaque creator] actually copied it word-for-word apart from a comma. I don't understand the motivation - unless they are a superfan.

"Most people would say 'shut up just enjoy the attention', but this is how I make my living."

The bench the plaque is on, on Royal York Crescent in Bristol
Nobody has come forward yet to claim responsibility for the plaque

Local Clifton residents said the bench has since become a "mysterious tourist attraction".

"The world of funny memorial plaques isn't just mine, but it's a wholesale word-for-word theft," The Misfortune Teller said.

The Misfortune Teller artwork about someone who clapped when planes landed
The artist said some of his other pieces have also gone viral in the past
The Misfortune Teller artwork about someone who wondered "what the hell was happening"
The Misfortune Teller said he wanted to make plaques that were funny and truthful

He said some of his other plaque pieces have also gone viral in the past or have been copied or shared without being credited to him.

"But I'm not angry. All I want is clarity," the artist added.

"The meme culture is just so strong that by the time you realise it's been stolen, everybody has shared it and they're 1,000 memes ahead," he added.

He said he hoped stronger laws would bought in to protect artists from not being credited when their work is copied.


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