ok. I'm here today to have a bit of a public whinge (sorry Mum).
I don't like it but it has to be done because it is an issue that I seem to be having to deal with quite a lot lately. I don't like confrontation. I am a peace loving hippy introvert that likes to stay in her own little world. I try to ignore these things as much as possible but over the last few months I have been forced to take notice.
Seriously... stop stealing my art. Stop copying my style. Stop using my art as "inspiration" and then selling it for your own profit.
Over the last 6 months alone:
I have had a large, nation wide company take an image from my blog and use it on the front cover of a free calendar that they then handed out to all their customers without my permission. (I was forced to inform my licensing agency of this breach of copyright and in the end the company was forced to pay me a royalty and sign a licensing agreement)
I have also had a local art shop use my work to advertise workshops on Facebook and their website in which they were planing on teaching their students how to paint like me. Not only did they breach copyright by using MY paintings to advertise these workshops but they were charging people for the privilege of ripping off my work. After contacting them they realized their mistake and apologized but not before many many people saw the advertisements and they only barely avoided having to deal with my licensing agency as well.
Becides these commercial businesses ripping me off there seems to be an influx of artists that have been brought to my attention that are also copying my style, techniques and subject matter. Some literally copying my paintings outright, others using the floral elements I use and the stylized trees that I use to create art that is VERY similar to mine.
Now, I don't spend time wading through the internet, deliberately trying to find people that are ripping me off (I have better things to do). In every case, these copycats have been pointed out to me by one or more other people that have seen the copycats work (either on Instagram or Bluethumb) and immediately recognized that it has been inspired by or totally copied by my work. These friends and followers of mine have contacted me and let me know about the offending artist. One artist in particular has been pointed out to me several times by several different people.
I have quite a unique style, so really it's not hard to tell when someone has used it as "inspiration".
These people are almost always selling their work as well and promoting themselves as professional artists. I'm not going to name and shame.... they know who they are... and if you think that it might be you that I'm talking about, then you're probably right. Stop it
If you think that no one will notice. You're wrong. If you think I won't notice. You're wrong. Honestly, you're not doing yourself any favours and if a few other people are recognizing the similarities to my work then you can be sure that many more will be as well and that's kind of embarrassing for you don't you think? The internet is actually a very small place.
I have worked really hard to develop my style of painting, it comes from me and my lifetime of experience. It comes from my own experimentation, imagination, testing, practicing, aesthetic, style and talents. It is unique and original. When I see other people using the same brushtrokes, details, compositions and style as me it makes me feel robbed.
You are stealing my intellectual property and breaching copyright. It's almost as bad as writing and publishing a story about a boy named "Barry" that discovers that he is a "magician" on his eleventh birthday. (I am in no way insinuating that I am the art world's equivalent of JK Rowling ... but you get my point)
Also, considering I have an exclusive contract with a large, international art licensing agency there are also many legal issues related to copying my work. I have exclusive agreements with companies that have paid good money for the right to reproduce my art legally. You really don't want the full force of the Bright Art Licencing legal department coming down on you for breach of cropyright or intellectual property.
But honestly, becides all that you need to think about yourself. As a creative individual you are doing yourself no favors by copying another artist. The satisfaction of creating something that comes from completely within yourself FAR outweighs the feeling you get from imitating someone else's creativity.
If you are an amateur and your are learning a variety of techniques to find your own way then go for your life, I don't have a problem with students using my work as inspiration or exploring my techniques. However, as soon as you slap a price tag on that painting and call it your own... then I have a problem with it. As soon as you post it on Instagram without giving me any credit for the initial inspiration... then I have a problem with it. That's where you cross the line and start to cause problems for yourself.
If you are a company and you would like to use any of my artworks for promotion, surface design or to on sell as prints the please contact me, I will happily put you in contact with my agent who will work out an agreement with you (it is not as expensive as you might think either or only something multi million dollar companies can afford to do!).
To finish, all I want to say is that behind the scenes I am a normal person trying to make a living. I put a lot of effort into my art and my business and finding out about these copyright issues gives me stress. It disrupts my life and takes up mental space that I'm tired of dealing with so for now this is the last you're going to hear about it. If in the future I am made aware of any further copyright breaches or copycat artists I'll be sending you a simple cease and desist letter and moving on with my life.