This is illegal! Buyer beware!

Every once in a while I will google search myself. No, I am not a narcissist, but it helps me keep tabs on how I am managing my art and its publicity. Imagine my surprise today when I found out that I could buy a reproduction print of my own art work from a company based out of Russia.

Did anyone ever contact me from this company asking me to use the image of my work? No.

Did anyone ever ask me if I wanted to make cheap reproduction prints of my work? No.

At no point in time did I give anyone permission to use my works for any reproduction or copying purposes. Now, I obviously have given galleries permission to use my art work for promotion purposes when I have done shows, but I have specifically and purposefully avoided contests or shows wherein I would have given away the legal rights to my work to the companies involved.

So now I have a company in Russia, illegally using my work to make cheap, unauthorized copies for profit. Nice. Assholes.

I had considered at one point having reproductions run of a few select pieces. The company I had discussed this with based out of Toronto came highly recommended by a friend in the business and was a high end facility who makes extremely high quality products. The process to make such a product was very involved, use specialized high end scanners of the original work etc etc. I chose against doing this for the moment due to the inherent costs involved with making a beautiful high quality reproduction. Had I wanted to make cheap low end prints, I am sure I could have, however that was not I wanted for myself, my art or my potential customers.

The fact is, when we buy prints at a low cost, inevitably we are getting what we pay for in terms of quality. I can guarantee you that this company did not scan the original work, but rather lifted the photo image of it from either this web page or my Facebook page (or someone else’s if they decided to share something that they liked with their friends). So, the quality of the image is not there when you buy this way. As well, the original artist likely has no clue that there are reproductions of their work being sold off at discounted rates. The artist (even while they may be credited for the original image-and my name is ANN not ANNA thank you oh so much) receives no proceeds from the sales of these cheap reproductions from these companies. Why should some company in Russia (or wherever) reap the profits from my artistic property when they are illegally stealing what came out of my head, created with my hands.

I am not naive enough to believe that people don’t take images off the net for their own purposes. It’s part of the hazards when you post anything. That said,someone pinning my work to Pinterest, a student using it for a project, an artist using it for their own inspiration is one thing, a company stealing it to profit off it, something altogether different.

So, lessons learned. Always search for your own work once you have put it out there, whether it’s images or words. Google yourself, image titles, or phrases to see just where your work has ended up, who is using it and how it is being used. If you are buying works of art or reproductions, always google the original artist to see if the original work is available (and what it looks like to compare-because if you check out the image in high def on their web site it is a joke and I sure as hell would not buy it even for that cheap price because it looks like a cheap photocopy compared to the original piece). When at all possible, see if the artist is offering prints or reproductions of the piece. Chances are, you may pay a few more dollars for it, but the quality of what you will be getting will be highly superior to some cheap run off version. And remember, yes it’s great to get new art, but it’s also important to support the artists who create these phenomenal images, whether it’s buying the original or copies that the artist supports.

As for that web site, please do NOT purchase any of “my art” from Images2Love as I did not give them permission to use my art for any purpose whatsoever. When you compare th”detailed” image they offer to the original painting, the run off is truly crap in comparison. This is artistic theft plain and simple. If you are interested in my Northern Lights Shoreline, contact me directly.

Thanks

Annie

Northern Lights Shoreline Prints are illegally being reproduced!

Northern Lights Shoreline
Prints are illegally being reproduced!

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Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery…or is it?

The one great thing about the internet is that is opens up an unfathomable number of sources of information and ideas. It can be a fabulous way to get the word out about your art, who you are and what you do. The downside to this is the opposing edge of the very same sword unfortunately.

As a self-taught artist, I have frequently searched the net for technical information, on materials and techniques. I love nothing more than watching the creative process of others, usually and especially when they are demonstrating a technique that I haven’t been able to master. I’ll look at photography from around the world, searching for images that inspire, that kick to the gut that resonates enough to push my work in a certain direction, colours that speak to me in shouts or quiet whispers.

That said, while I might play with certain techniques, styles or colours, the intent is always to transform that into something that is uniquely my own. To me, copying something someone else has already done, other than for purely an academic exercise is not creating art per say. I can’t say I am surprised by recent trends, although the extent to which I find things happening is disturbing. When I started looking for local businesses to show my art, I came across a few who had massive pieces of art displayed for a pittance. When I inquired as to how exactly an original piece of art could be available for such a low price, I was informed that it was an import. The “manufacturer’ prints the picture onto a canvas and then the “original artist” adds paint in various places to create an “original” oil painting. Ugh. As an artist and not a manufacturer, there is no way to compete with these bargain basement prices. Unless an artist has the fiscal freedom to put their work out there just for the sake of exposure, the cost of the canvases and oil alone prohibits offering paintings at a comparable price point.

The import business has taken this even further. Web sites advertise how you can import works of art (hand painted copies of the original) for a mere 5 pounds, to be sold for 50 or more pounds profit. Door to door sales people have inundated countries like New Zealand with these copies, selling to unwitting customers, further bolstering this deceptive economy. Search online for “original oil paintings”, and chances are, among sites for legitimate artists, you will find a plethora of these businesses, manufacturing “art” at high volume levels. Yes, since there was art, there were those who copied, forged, however you want to label it. That said, it again becomes an issue for artists to compete with mass produced, manufactured, volumes of works inundating the market. Why should the average person fork out hard earned money for an original piece of work when they can have an “original”, massive sized canvas adorning their walls?

I suppose, especially for newer artists, when you put your work out there, you invariably take the risk of someone either lifting your work for their own purposes or copying it. When I was learning palette knife technique, I watched quite a few instructional videos, or artist produced videos, checking out techniques and styles. One such artist, Leonid Afremov, has a very distinctive style. his colour palettes, subject matter and techniques are by and large uniquely his own, making his works almost instantly recognizable (art critics can dissemble about style etc are your own). Now, in my opinion, it is one thing to learn from someone, incorporating these things you learn into your own style, and quite a different thing to produce works that border on infringement or appropriation. Yet, today I found myself looking at works by “artists” (and not manufactured import businesses) who indeed had not only copied the style, but also the colour palettes and subject matters. Again, perhaps my naivete, but explain to me how this is fair, or art. I realize that in any art form (literary, painting, sculpture etc) we are all producing things that are products of the past in many ways. Our brains work to assimilate images and ideas, and yes, sometimes the things we produce do subconsciously come out to be similar to something else. That said, when I put my signature on something intended to be for sale as an original work of mine, (and not an exercise to practice), then unless I put in the title “In the style of”, it’s definitely a product of my own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and instincts. If it’s not, then I am simply a copyist, a clever technician, and not an artist. So while mimicry and copying can be the sincerest form of flattery, outright copying is basically theft of artistic or intellectual properties. Not so flattering, more frustrating I would say.

Upcoming events…feel free to cross post and get the word out

There are two amazing events coming up and deadlines for artists are fast approaching.

The MUSEUM in KW is holding a Jr Brush Off. This is a fabulous opportunity for young artists aged 14-18 to challenge themselves, add to their CV and portfolios, and benefit the local museum. It’s the same competition that I was in this year, only for younger competitors. The deadline to enter is next week, so artists need to get their applications in fast! It really is a blast and both artists and guests had a lot of fun. Go to THEMUSEUM.ca for details.

The other deadline that is coming up is for Elora’s Artcetera 2013. This fundraiser showcases high calibre artists as well as intriguing items donated from patrons. Elora supports a dynamic and thriving artist community with events, workshops, festivals and art shows going on year round. Artists do receive a percentage of the auction end total, so everyone benefits!!

Have fun and explore!

Tricky, tricky…new challenges and discoveries

For the past month, I have not really been painting much. Kids back to school, organizational nightmares and all that have taken hold of the house, so painting time gets fit in when exhaustion doesn’t win out.

And when you leave your work for days, it changes the approach you take to your work. Normally, I paint wet on wet. I get a canvas, sit down, mix my paints, turn on the music and voila…the inspiration spews from within and things take shape on the canvas. The exception is my Northern Series where the bold lines need the paint to set before adding colours of definition. Even so, I rarely leave it more than a day before adding the next layer. There is still a certain bit of natural blending that comes along with it even if the paint is semi-set. Due to the recent time constraints (ok, big baby that I am was too tired and not motivated to get back at it right away), I ended up leaving the new massive piece for days at a time….wrong move…at least for me. I became so accustomed to a certain feel and flow of the brush that it really, really, threw me off when I tried to put the next layer and lost that silky flow of paint. Ugh. And Damn. I did not like that scratchy feel when I tried to edge in the defining strokes. I did not like the way it looked. It felt too forced for lack of a better term. Ugh Ugh Ugh. I went back over this painting I don’t know how many times and there is still something about it that pisses me off. Now, when others have looked at, some have said it’s perfect, they can’t see that’s wrong with it…but as any artist knows, when something gets under your skin, well, it stays there lol.

On another note, I had one of my first commissions where I tried to paint what the client liked. A couple who is getting married came by to tour my works to commission a painting as a wedding gift. Very cool. So, they got to walk through ALL my works, the realistic, the abstract, the lilies etc. As they went through, we discussed what bits they liked and what features they didn’t, colours, movement and so on. We determined that it would be a “lily” series, but this time it wouldn’t be the paint or music or internal inspiration moving the knives. This time I had to take into consideration, her love of white lilies, his love of red, her love of blue water, his of green, and the bold sky I had done in an entirely different series…challenging? You bet! But it was a great exercise for me, to see if I could encapsulate everything they wanted, while staying true to myself all the while exuding the creativity that must be part of the process. At first I though it was perhaps just a bit too busy, but upon greater reflection I realized I actually like it!

So, one I like, and one…well…hmmm….still not sure what I want to do with that one :o) How often are you totally satisfied with ALL of your works?

 

One more up for auction!

I put one more painting up for auction, a small “lily series” one.

Since the bidding ends in 14 hrs, if you want it, bid fast!

Small Lily
8 by 8
Oil on canvas

Paintings up for auction!

A local family in the community recently faced a devastating loss when their wheelchair accessible van was demolished by fire. They are faced with the huge task of trying to replace the van and get it retrofitted for use. Members of the area have come together and put together an online auction with donated items where ALL of the proceeds go to helping this family out.

I have donated 2 paintings to this wonderful cause, both which were exhibited at the 2012 Elora Art in the Yard show. You can bid online for any of the items including these two paintings.

Click on the following link to take you to Van for Dan auction website where you can sign up, get a painting for a great deal and help a fabulous cause!

http://vanfordan.igloocommunities.com/gallery/greenspringarticflowfishingatsunset004jpg

 

Green Spring
Oil on canvas

The smoosh” and an actual “concept” piece

The “smoosh” is now what I call “The Wave”, although could be a dolphin, water vortex whatever. I like the effect and it turned out pretty cool. God help me when I get asked what the “concept” was behind that one. AND just to satisfy people that I do sometimes have an idea before I start, I did a concept painting…now it’s just up to the viewer to figure out what it is lol…