Montrose artist miffed over Papa John's ad in front of his mural

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Local artist Sebastien "Mr. D" Boileau says he was shocked when friends began flooding him with pictures of his artwork, the Montrose Paint Wall, featured on TV in a Papa John's pizza commercial.

"I haven't seen the commercial, but people were sending me screenshots," he said.

The commercial was promoting the pizza chain's latest creation - a barbecue pizza being promoted as part of the Houston Rodeo festivities. Killen's Barbecue was also included in the advertisement that showed two people enjoying pizza while sitting in front of Boileau's colorful and distinctive artwork.

The problem is, according to the artist, he never granted permission for his art to be used specifically in a Papa John's commercial.

"By them using this, it's like I'm endorsing their company, which I haven't," he said.

Boileau claims he received what he calls a "vague" email from a production company asking his permission to photograph the painted wall, but he claims the request never mentioned Papa John's or Killen's Barbecue.

A copyright is visible to visitors photographing the wall and the artist says his work is commissioned and he has the contract to prove he owns the image.

"What we do think is important is that the artist such as Mr. D and all the other artists in our community get proper recognition for their work and it was not done at all," said Scott Brann, an attorney for Boileau.

In a Facebook message to the artist, Killen's Barbecue claims they had "zero" to do with the production of the commercial and told Mr. D to contact Papa John's.

ABC13 reached out to Papa John's and spoke with Billy Robinett, the vice president of Papa John's in Houston.

According to Robinett, Comcast was hired to produce the commercial and a director was the one who wanted to include the two-second shot in the final piece.

He claims Papa John's was unaware the artwork was licensed and says he has spoken with Boileau and also apologizes if anyone was offended.

The portion of the commercial featuring the Montrose Paint Wall has since been removed.

"People just need to understand that for an artist, this is what we do for a living. We have bills to pay," Boileau said.

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