If you’re an avid sketcher, you may have heard of the famous sketchwalk hosted by KL Sketchnation that’s held in various parts of the city. However, artists who took part in last weekend’s 40th sketchwalk were met with a rather unpleasant experience.
For those of you not familiar with this event, a sketchwalk is where amateur and professional artists alike walk through the streets and sketch out anything that catches their eye. For their 40th sketchwalk, KL Sketchnation decided to have it in KL’s Lot 10 area in Bukit Bintang.
Calling all sketching enthusiasts, our #sketchwalk is back on after a few months break! We are going urban this time. First-timers are highly encouraged to join this session, no registration needed. Just bring along your sketchbooks and pens. Ask your friends to tag along if you’re shy. See you there! #klsketchnation
Although things started out normally, a number of participants soon began to run into some trouble while sketching out the Lot 10 building and other structures in the area.
One netizen named hawyth, who has sketched in public areas around the world, was shocked when security guards stopped him and his brother from sketching the famous Lot 10 building. According to his Twitter and Instagram posts, he was stopped by security personnel because they claimed that the building’s design was protected by Intellectual Property (IP).
An excerpt from hawyth’s post reads,
“So apparently the building’s design is protected by Intellectual Property so we can’t draw the building, and we can’t take pictures as well, but selfies are permitted.”
“My brother argued for some time and finally when he asked, ‘So what if we just continue sketching? What action will you guys take?’ The manager just answered, ‘Oh, we can’t really do anything’. So, we continued anyway.”
— hawyth (@harythilmy) August 12, 2018
Another person with the username atilyahilmy, who was also at the sketchwalk, shared a similar experience on her Instagram account. An excerpt from her post read,
“During our sketchwalk today, we were approached by Lot 10’s authorities saying we’re not allowed to sketch Lot 10 specifically because they’re scared that we might steal the design as if we were gonna build a whole new Lot 10 at a new venue.”
“We were like, ‘What if we take pictures of the building? Still considered stealing the design?’ then they replied, ‘Only selfies are allowed’.”
It’s been too long ✍🏻☕️ Short story; during our sketchwalk today, we were approached by Lot 10’s authorities saying we’re not allowed to sketch Lot 10 specifically bcs apparently they’re scared that we might steal the design as if we were gonna build a whole new Lot 10 at a new venue. We were like, “What if we take pictures of the building? Still considered stealing the design?” then they replied “Only selfies are allowed.” UMM R U OK 🤷🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️ The @klsketchnation team had a debate session with them & in the end, they left us alone cs they rly cldnt do anything. I lost mood to even sketch Lot 10 & went to Starbucks after with bro & asked the staff if we can sketch there & they went “Sure, go crazy!” #SketchingIsNotACrime #klsketchnation
Meanwhile, KL Sketchnation organiser, kymioflario, also took to Instagram to voice his disappointment with the strict rules enforced by the mall’s security personnel, as some people even stopped sketching because they felt like they were breaking the law.
And this happened again during our @klsketchnation sketchwalk yesterday and i experienced the most ridiculous among all ive been through so far; A bunch of us were scattered along jalan Bukit Bintang to sketch in the public area, and the cafes along Jalan Bukit Bintang near @lot10klofficial as our point of reference to experience and reflect our urban setting and appreciate our vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur with sketches. But i was told by our fellow sketchers that they were chased away by the authorities telling that they cant sketch there. We were not even inside the building, and not even cluttered in a big group, everyone were just having theyre own sweet time sketching and having teas and coffees at the open cafes. Some of the sketchers even given up and stop sketching because they feel like its illegal. So i confronted the man in suit (cuz the other authorities cant even speak our language, why even they were given the authoritical power anyway?) one of the authority from Lot 10 asking for some explanation and ive got the most ridiculous claims; they said that we cant sketch their building because of the IP of the building. We cant sketch to any part of the building, stairs, facade, signboard, logos whatsoever because its owned by the owner. Then of course we asked what about photos? “Photos are ok as long as its a selfie. If you want to sketch u can sketch everything other than building. People, your friends, cars, etc. But i am instructed by the management to forbid people from sketching the building. And the tenants here dont like people drawing their shops,” so he claimed. Im totally speechless. Ive even asked few shops there if they have any problem about that, everyone thinks its ridiculous. We did finish our sketches anyway with permission by the cafes but we feel like a criminal sketching in own urban public setting. #sketchingisnotacrime #klsketchnation
As news of this incident quickly began to circulate, many local netizens were outraged that artists weren’t even allowed to sketch in public.
Wow. People has been sketching Eiffel tower, KLCC, Taj Mahal many other defining and historical buildings, not once IP issue was brought up. And tangkap gambar selfie je boleh? Im no lawyer but sounds like BS. Haha.
— Syed Hadi Arief (@iamnoparagon) August 12, 2018
This is just ridiculous la kym. It's a sketch. Not detailed pictures 🤨
— faeez_drama (@faeezikhwan) August 12, 2018
Buat nationwide petition for legality in urban sketching jom. What nonsense is this.
— Amira Salehin (@amirasalehin) August 12, 2018
KL Sketchnation will likely release a statement addressing the issue after an internal discussion has taken place.
Update: WORLD OF BUZZ has reached out Lot 10 for their side of the story, and they have already issued a statement addressing the issue, saying,
“Lot 10 has already reached out to KL Sketchnation to clarify the situation and we are also in conversation to explore how we could possibly work better together in the future.”
“Lot 10 believes in supporting artistic creativity and we really hope we can strike up a fruitful collaboration with KL Sketchnation.”
What are your thoughts on this? Should artists be free to sketch anything around the city or should there be laws like this in place? Let us know in the comments below!
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