I am editing this post because I have been in contact with the artist in question and she is a very sweet person who admitted to having come across my work online. A few days after seeing my owl she drew one of her own, and, as happens to all of us when we wade into the vast imagery of the internet, a little bit of what she saw stayed with her. She had no intention to copy my work or to make a profit from it - after some friends saw her drawings they urged her to sell them. Her drawings are really good! I'm glad she has friends who support her.
The internet is a really tricky thing. It has upped the anti on our already-imagery saturated world (from billboards, to TV, to ads in washroom stalls, on buses, in bus shelters...we see a lot every day), and made it really easy for artists to see each other's work. This is an amazing thing! We live in the best time ever to be an artist. There is endless inspiration at our fingertips and it is so easy to make contact with each other. We are able to sell our own work without relying on others. The downside is that it is easy for elements of other's work to make their way into our own a little too unadulterated. I am sure that I have been guilty of this in the past. I hope that I am coming into my own more as an artist and looking to others less for inspiration.
Someone wrote to me and pointed out that it's not like I have a claim to this style, and I couldn't agree more. I actually really liked her take on the form - I think she has a lot of great ideas that have not occurred to me before. Who knows, an element or two from her brain might creep in to my work some day. She's making really cool stuff. That's what happens as an artist when you see work you like - elements of it stay with you.
I probably went overboard in putting this blog post up before I had contacted her, but I have to say, I really was not expecting her to be so humble or so kind. I guess I've heard too many bad Urban Outfitters-type stories (and had several friends have major plagiarism problems this year). If the work had only been on a website I hope that I would not have reacted so harshly (I really don't think I would have but it's hard to say). Seeing the print for sale for 47 Euros bothered me. I've put a huge amount of my life into creating a platform for accessible and affordable art. I try to keep the price of my own prints low. It was such a shock to see something that bore such a resemblance to my own work being sold for so much. Add to that my insomnia from last night and some other stuff that's been going on lately and I can attest to the fact that I definitely was not in the best mood today when I came across this.
I'm leaving my little guy up at the bottom but have taken her name and all her work down. You know, at the bottom of my heart through all of this was a voice saying, "Who cares, the world is big enough for two patterned owls, isn't it?" But at the same time my heart was racing all day and I definitely felt upset, as much as I didn't want to. It's a tricky line to walk: wanting to be constantly inspired by others, wanting to adapt and grow your own style, wanting to not be too attached to the things you make because at heart you do not agree with the concept of originality, but then also being offended when you see your stuff riffed on a little too hard. I appreciate all the comments and the feedback. I think I can say with certainty that this has been a learning experience for both of us.
xo - K
|Owl by Kirsten McCrea|