Sunday, May 8, 2016

imitation is fraud, not flattery...

A frequent topic among established artists exhibiting at conventions is the casual attitude some students and young artists have about copying the work of others.

What is the real value of art?? (graphic below from The ABC's of art by M.C. Gillis)

Art does not exist in a vacuum. We all create from what we have learned from and been inspired by. But this copied-art problem goes beyond guiding light of inspiration into the shadows of imitation.. duplication... theft.. and fraud.

There have been instances where young artists have gone even beyond the grey area of fan art and sold prints where they have just traced over published work of licensed characters to create "their" art.

Sometimes copied-art is just ignorance.... and an education opportunity. Sometimes it's just arrogance... because no one stops them.

Education is the key. The more the community of artists and fans understand together what's at stake with artists rights.. the stronger the protections for intellectual property.

Enforcing the rules isn't just about cease and desist orders from copyright holders .... or exhibitor guidelines from convention organizers.

The buck really stops with the financial impact. On all of us. Cheap, easy art -- erodes.

How to fight this??? Make the art fan culture smarter, and more compassionate, about artist rights. (graphic below from

More on copyright .. along with case studies of unauthorized use of images posted online.. on this frequently updated post here on the blog:

The up and coming artists are the future of the community ... both the fans they bring in and the social and commercial contracts they are building with their audience.

Think about what happens if the next waves of artists are used to imitating instead of creating... and the next wave of art customers continue to purchase and support imitated art.

Art has value because is a unique expression of an artist's vision. It's that spark of vision that connects us to art that we love.

If all we come to value about art is how cheaply we can get it and how easily we can imitate it -- then we will put real artist out of business. We can't afford to let that happen.

Few artists can make their living entirely from their art. There's nothing wrong with that. So called "day jobs" pay the bills.. and contribute to their community. But what sustains artists is their art. For these small business artists --- the ones who are exhibiting at conventions and selling their art online -- imitation of their art isn't flattery... it's a little death of the soul.

Online art theft is rampant. It undermines artist rights and has a ripple effect that impacts the economy:

Nikki Cohen of Mayfaire Moon custom corsets and costumes 

beautifully expresses the pain and struggle of artists when they are imitated in this post "How to Anger an Artist in 5 Seconds"
from her Patreon page....

No comments: