This post has been buzzing around inside my head for quite some time, and now today it’s come down to: 1. to post OR 2. not to post. Ack. Okay…since there is a novel down below you can clearly see that I chose Option 1. Here it goes.
Over the course of my time as a blogger I’ve seen countless cases of artists and makers having their creative talents blatantly copied, and in every case it has been sad to see people who put their heart and passion into something unique, have it taken from them so unceremoniously. Sometimes there are accusations of copying, where the lines get a little bit fuzzier…a style that is similar but not identical, and I suppose this is the gray area that can make copying harder to define. However…in growing frequency I have seen artists have their work taken as-is, with very little or no “modification,” and sold without their permission or compensation. It truly saddens me to say that I am now one of these artists (see the image above).
To say that this upsets me is a big understatement. I am someone who is simply trying (and working very hard) to support myself and my daughter by building a brand around my artistic style. I’ve found that one of the worst things about having your work stolen, is the way that it can stifle your creativity and rob you of a desire to continue sharing your work. Ever since becoming aware of this incident I’ve struggled to feel comfortable to put anything new out.
It hurts that a company with a loyal following throughout South America would find it acceptable to blatantly steal from me, simply because they can. I’m not sure if location had anything to do with their decision to steal my work. Maybe they figured that halfway around the world it would be unlikely that I’d ever find out. Thankfully there are good people all over who are looking out for me and other indie artists, and who aren’t willing to turn a blind eye when they see stuff like this going on.
If I had been contacted by Luigi Bertolli about using my illustration work, I would have been delighted to partner with them in some capacity. But finding out that one of my illustrations has been taken without permission, stuck on a t-shirt, and is helping to fill their pockets with absolutely no compensation or credit back my way is such a disappointment. I have been unable to get in touch with them through their site, and if I were able to, all I would ask is that they immediately pull all of the stolen designs out of their stores. I know that legal action could probably be taken (especially since there is no debating that it is my illustration that they used), and I must admit that the thought has been tempting…but at the end of the day I’d honestly rather put my energy into my work and a path that will take me forward in the positive direction that I want to go.
Before I go, I just want to quickly clarify that my reasoning for this post is not to start an online riot against this company. I’ve tried to keep my words here as non-confrontational as possible. I acknowledge that I could have kept this whole thing to myself, but ultimately decided that it was important for me to speak up, both for myself (talking about this has taken such a weight off my shoulders)…and for any other new artists out there who may be going through similar situations and feeling alone (you’re not).
Since starting on this illustration path last year I have been so inspired by each one of you. The support of our creative community has been invaluable to me. Thank you for giving me a chance to voice my frustrations and get a little housekeeping out of the way here today. Now onto better and brighter things. xo Ez