Monday, June 25, 2012

Houdini Whodunit

Besides writing and performing, I also enjoy doing illustrations. I am a graphic designer by trade. In 1995 I did an illustration of Houdini (below) in the style of a woodcut. That image was used on a set of note cards I produced and sold. The Houdini Historical Center (HHC) in Appleton, Wisconsin sold the cards in their gift shop. The liked the illustration so much the used it on the cover of their gift catalog that year. The HHC usage was the only time I gave permission to use the image.

I came across my Houdini image again a few years later while surfing the web. This time it was being used as table decoration for a “magic” bar in Spain! I was shocked because I knew nothing about it. In a way I was flattered, but I was also a little angry I wasn’t asked for permission. Who was the person that pilfered my Houdini image? I have no idea.

The other day I took a look at one of my favorite blogs, Wild about Harry. It is the creation of John Cox. If you are a Houdini fan you should really take a look at it. The blog entry “Houdini apparition appears in Visalia?” really caught my attention. There was my Houdini image being used again. This time the Houdini portrait had been painted on the side of a house in California! Who took the time, effort and paint to steal the great escape artist’s visage this time? I will probably never know.

In retrospect I am glad so many people like the image and choose to “use” it. Maybe next time somebody will ask for my permission before they paint it onto the side of a house. Until then I am happy to keep the memory of Harry Houdini alive!