Thursday, April 26, 2012

on art theft, and turning it around

It's always a bummer to come across my artwork altered, stolen or just haphazardly printed off the internet, which is how the last week started. Sometimes people really don't know any better and are happy to change their behavior once understand the issue... sometimes they know better and just don't care. (And in this case, she sent me icky messages on Etsy, recruited her friends to harass me, and specifically let me know "my printouts of your work look great on my walls." Yikes.) To see my artwork stolen is frustrating; it's ugly, illegal, and it also takes away from my ability to support myself. To hear people (who likely have jobs and do work they expect credit for) justify theft of my hard work with all kinds of excuses is heartbreaking.

So I was frustrated. Sad. Irritated. And almost like, This happens ALL THE TIME! Why do I even bother making and selling artwork when some people will just steal it! And other melodramatic feelings. And then my boyfriend gave me a bear hug, and he poured me a glass of wine, and I grouched a bit more before deciding to turn the negativity around by filling the rest of the week absolutely full of the things I love about life and being an artist.

found this at the beach :)an afternoon of oysters and beer an afternoon of oysters and beer pondering things at sunset boston from castle island 7 minute mile rearranged studio go on field trips

We took an afternoon off to enjoy a loooong lunch of seafood and Sam Summers on the waterfront. Ate local ice cream at the beach down the street from our apartment, watched the sun set over Boston. I ran my first 7-minute mile. Rocked out at the Green River OrdinanceGraham Colton concert. Spent the entire weekend enjoying the sunshine with our good friends. Gave my studio a fresh spring look, organized my supplies, and dove headfirst into finishing a couple new pieces to be hung next week. Found a four-leaf clover at the beach and was reminded that I am really lucky - and it will take more than trashy art thieves and one bad day to change that.

29 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry Mae that this happens....your work is amazing, beautiful, inspirational....and you deserve all the credit! As as "fabric artist" (i.e. seamstress/designer) my heart goes out to you. Just remember, do what you can legally if you so desire, but if not, those awful people who steal others' art will eventually have a bad day. A really, really, bad day. Just keep making your amazing art, because it's fantastic. You have an amazing boyfriend, and I admire you for taking the time to get the bad energy out. I will buy one of your prints one day! xoxo Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Agreed, you are lucky. But also, you are inspirational! Why someone would want to steal something that is obviously so personal is beyond me, plus you make such an effort to make your work affordable to all of us. I for one am thankful for that, and my walls, and my kids are all thankful too :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Blessings to you, both you and your artwork inspire so many, me at the front of the line :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good for you Mae! Your boyfriend sounds like something my husband would do. God gave you your talents for a reason. It would be a shame not to use them. It's a shame a few people have to ruin it. I am thankful you are out there because I am inspired by you all the time! That inspiration puts good things in the world and in turn I think that good stuff is returned to you. Love your art, inspiration, photos and yours shoes ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am inspired by you, and love watching your creative process each week. I am sorry to hear that ugly people have chosen to spread their ugliness. Like you said, it happens, you dust yourself off, and move on. Because as we all know, you are better than that. (even though you want to hunt them down! LOL) Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love this post, Mae. I suppose I hate/love it. Hate the first part, love the second! Keep doing what you love. Personally, the two pieces I have from you are a daily inspiration -- because of 1.) your hard work and artistic creativity poured into them and 2.) the hard work and money it took to buy them, and support you while truly earning the artwork! Having real art in my home is something I've always looked forward to, and something that I cherish. It's a step into adulthood and in decorating our first real apartment that means the world to me. I look forward to earning a few more of your pieces, as well :)
    PS - I'm already in love with the "Field Trips" piece! Can't wait for it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amen to The Artsy Girl Studio's comment. I'm going to keep that person in my thoughts today and hope they'll have a change of heart about how they're living their life.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd like her name and send her some harassing messages!! Keep on keepin on. She'll get her karma, 10 fold.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sadly, there are always going to be crummy people in the world who think the rules don't apply to them. This is why it helps to believe in karma! Just know that there are so many of us who value your art and are willing to pay for it! You create amazing things and should never stop :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. ugh. screw em! There is no way a computer print-out will ever live up to your prints or originals- they are missing out (unfortunately at the expense of you). This is why I believe in karma ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. oh Mae... that sucks.
    But i was SO happy to read how you turned it all around and didn't let this get you too down. Your artwork is absolutely AMAZING and i for one would miss it terribly if you weren't out there. I've purchased one of your prints and i love it because the print looks awesome and it makes me feel good to know that i supported another artist. You can never totally get away from idiots who steal or copy - but you can ALWAYS make the choice to carry on and remember that MOST people respect your profession (and mine) as artists and are more than willing to pay for our work. It's those people that matter most. Fuck the others. :-) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm sorry to hear that happened, it is so unfortunate and simply unprofessional of them to attack you like that. I hope Etsy is stepping in, and removing their store.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am so sorry to hear your were on the receiving end of something like that! How sad that someone feels the need to be so nasty. But on the bright side, no matter how nasty she or he may be, your work still touched them. I hope that is some comfort! This sort of thing terrifies me as a bidding artist, but you are an inspiration to look to the positive! Keep on being awesome and inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mae - From all the comments above, you can see how much you are loved and how much everyone has appreciated your talents and your beautiful art. I love your blog and your fb page and will be purchasing some of your art soon. Glad you turned a negative event into a positive outcome. Keep producing all that lovely art and keep having such and awesome attitude. Sending you much love from Alberta Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Mae.....I received my 2 prints that I ordered from you last week! They make me so happy and I'm thinking back to what I was thinking when I was unwrapping them....that you have such a creative, generous spirit and it allowed me to order some inspirational art that I truly love and appreciate, at a savings of 20%. You of all people do not deserve to be ripped off!!!! I am so sorry, but also inspired (yet again) by the way you dealt with it! That person has a lot of negative Karma in the bank right now....and it's well deserved! :(
    Best

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm a great admirer of your work and am sorry you have to deal with this. They may steal your physical pictures by printing them, but they can NEVER steal the essence of your creative spirit, which is uniquely yours. It's like a soul print, and no two prints are alike when they're coming from an authentic place - at least that's how I look at it. I'm glad you won't let this get you down and I also want to add that I LOVE Green River Ordinance. I was privileged to see them live a couple years ago and have been a huge fan ever since! Have a lovely day~~

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love your artwork Mae and I am so very sorry this happened to you. It always make me feel just a little be deflated too. Artists need to stick together and support each other through the triumphs and the heart breaks. I am happy your BFF was there to lift you up, hold you close... you had a someone special to lean on...Your work is amazing Mae. The world is filled with people who take what they can't create themselves and someday it will catch up to them, maybe in a way they least expect but I do believe that fate has a way of righting wrongs and for you the gift from this is that you are surrounded by many strangers who really and truly care about you as an artist and more importantly as a human being. Leave them in the dust and you run headlong into the next amazing painting that will arise from your hands and your hands alone.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Block her on Etsy and facebook. I love your work. Sadly the internet is as bad as it is good. Keep doing what you do and your sweet attitude will get you lots of orders. You are truly talented.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Laura from New HampshireThursday, April 26, 2012 2:48:00 PM

    Mae, thanks so much for your post. As an aspiring artist, the way you have chosen to deal with this also inspires me. I love your work and really can't understand why anyone would do something like that and justify themselves in any way. Your personality comes through in your work and I hate the fact that someone would do something so hurtful when so much love obviously went into your work. Please know that there are many people out here cheering for you and loving seeing all the work you do. You are amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Mae-
    Hopefully reading through all these comments reminds you that your fans outnumber the jealous people not mature and respectful enough to do the right thing and support you and your dreams. I think all talented artists come to this frustration at one point or another, and can choose to let it get them down or let it fuel their fire instead.

    Don't forget how much of an inspiration you are and how much we love you and your beautiful work! Hopefully one day there will be an easier and more effective way to take down art thiefs. Until then, we hope you continue making your pieces!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm so sorry to hear about your negative experience. As a creative person, I'd like to offer you my 2 cents if that's OK. I feel that that person didn't manage to steal your art at all. Your art is a living thing, full of a bright spirit and the love and inspiration that you put into it. Nothing downloaded against you wishes and printed out (probably cheaply) could really be your art anymore. It's just an imitation, tinged with the negative energy of the person who took it. And I would guess that it's not a loss of income. I'm pretty sure that that person never would never have placed any orders for your art (or probably anyone else's). If they want to surround themselves with the negative vibes of things they have stolen, that's their choice of how they want to live their life, and I believe that you reap what you sow. You have a life full of light and creativity and a fantastic boyfriend by the sounds of it. What do they have? I admire you and I pity them.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well I saw the whole thing go down on Pinterest, good for you for sticking up for yourself!!! Couldn't believe that grown women were bullying you like that and saying the stuff they were!! Just terrible. From what they were saying they have no idea what copyright laws are or any of the ethical stuff about art on Pinterest. Just bullies. Love your work, don't hesitate to stand up for your career and your art -Sarah Pioski

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good for you, Mae! How your positivity has turned a horrible experience into something you can move on from is truly inspirational!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Mae-I agree that it sucks people stoop to this level. Just because it happens all the time doesn't make it right. There are ways of superimposing watermark copyright information onto the images you post online. Photographers do it all the time with "proof" across the entire image. Sure, it might distract from the beauty of the art as it is viewed online, but those who appreciate original art will be able to see through it! Also, you can somehow make the link so you can't right-click on it. This will stop the copy & paste thieves. More work for you, yes, but peace-of-mind in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh Mae, I am so sorry - that's really awful, especially to think that that someone isn't even embarrassed to be doing it and is openly taunting you. Don't let people like that get you down (and win) or stop you from doing your beautiful work. I ordered one of your prints recently as a gift and it was beautiful and your blog is one of the first i check on when i go online. And you found a 4 leaf clover - hello - seriously - if that isn't a message from the universe what is ! Have a lovely weekend and please keep doing what you do. x

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ugh. What a meanie. Hope you are able to put it out of your mind & soldier on... Your work is beautiful & inspiring & you are a great writer as well!

    ReplyDelete
  27. For the person that sent you messages on Etsy, I hope you reported all of them for violating the TOS (and you may want to file a formal complaint on the user here http://www.etsy.com/help/article/482). I know a watermark on the prints would suck, but it might be a viable option to keep people from just printing the images.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Mae--Your work is awesome, and I hate to hear that people were harassing you. It's obvious that lots of people love you, so you should focus on that. It will come back on the bad guys, and your work will just keep getting more and more popular, so don't take it too hard.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Total bummer. But.. you are handling yourself with much integrity and grace...which is a beautiful thing.

    ReplyDelete