K. Michelle momentarily took the world by storm when the art to her album hit the internet, but shortly thereafter narrative emerged. The artwork seemed to be deliberately lifted from the photography of another artist. That photographer is Monhand Mathurin. Monhand and model Lady Tatyana collaborated on the images that seemingly inspired the singer’s album art. Lady Tatyana blasted K. Michelle and her photographer on social media saying, “Are you kidding me? And she copied another one of my photos. @kmichellemusic or her photographer straight up copied my whole photoshoot! No originally AT ALL. I refuse to let her make money off of @monhandworks and myself ideas." She is considering legal action and Montand is leaving all options open as well. AllHipHop reached out to Monhand and he commented on the matter for the first time.
AllHipHop.com: What did you think/feel when you saw the K. Michelle album imagery that was allegedly stolen from your photos?
Monhand Mathurin: Initially, I seen the photo with her on the couch about 2 weeks ago and really didn't think anything of it. But on the day of her album release my notifications on Instagram was going off more then usually and folks were just sharing the comparison. Seeing the images side by side, I really just felt like the concept was inspired by me. Not one but two photos. At that point I found it hard to believe it was a coincidence.
How have you felt since, as far as her response to the controversy?
I understand art can be remodel and created but I feel very strongly when it comes to giving credit where it's due. Whether it was motivated or inspired by another artist. Realizing that the model was blocked (on social media) by K Michelle and her photographer/creative director just gave me a negative impulse about the situation. K Michelle of all people who has publicly expressed her feelings about a friend stealing her song on Hot 97 a few months ago. We should be asking her that question.
What inspired the art/photographs, which have been considered edgy, but artsy?
That concept came up on the spot. When I planned the shoot I wanted someone I didn't know, met for the first and that was very comfortable with their body regardless of their body type. I only knew that I wanted to use rose to express what it symbolize, love and passion. I also wanted people to at look at the different shades of the roses that the represents diversity in expressing love and passion. That's the reason I didn't use just one color. As far as the position I just wasn't to do some edgy and that would catch the attention of the eye and have people either like or hate it. There's no rules to art! ‘Specially if it's your own!
Are you considering legal action?
I have been approached to pursue the case. A few lawyers advised me that it's a federal case and could take up to a year or more to get a resolution. I haven't made a decision yet whether I will move forward or not.
The subject of the images seems to have everybody particularly fired up - even K. Michelle. Have you all talked? If so, about what?
The images have gone viral and it's hard to believe that with all the post and tags on social media that no one from K Michelle's team attempted to contact me. Then again before this interview, no one knew who I was because the model's name was plastered everywhere. It wasn't until today, I sent an email to K Michelle's creative team and received a response. The representative expressed their apologies from an artist stand point and there were some things discussed however nothing has changed. I will continue to seek what my options are.