A Federal Lawsuit Over the Butt Sketch
A 1998 Washington Post story about Krandel Lee Newton, electrical engineer turned West End Marketplace artist, described his technique thusly:
Not since Masaccio birthed the Italian Renaissance by realistically depicting a three-dimensional scene upon a flat canvas has an artist emerged with such transformational potential as Krandel Lee Newton. Newton ... has liberated art from suffocating, conventional notions about the very nature of identity. Newton eschews the human face. He draws the human behind.
Ah, yes. Perhaps you've encountered Newton, or a member of his expanding team of artists, in recent years. Maybe at a party, a convention, a trade show, a company sales meeting or, once upon a time, at his perch on a West End corner. He was, and remains, the be-all and end-all of the tuchus trade: The Original Butt Sketch Artist, on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office since 1989. Yes, that guy. And more than two decades later, the one-time Real People guest's novelty has not worn off -- newspaper continue to profile the man who draws "one of the most conservative pieces of art you'll find."
But all these years later, Newton is now fending off all comers -- in this case Mike Bergenholtz, proprietor of, among other Web sites, Dallas Party and the subject of this 2006 Dallas News biz-section love-in. Newton claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Dallas federal court that Bergenholtz's Butt Sketch and Rear View Sketch are violating his trademark, costing him money and hurting his reputation. The suit, and its exhibits, follows. Or you could just watch this.
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