It seems like I can’t go a single day without receiving messages from fans that they happened upon my art being used without permission. Whether it’s on a shirt design in a window in Italy, at a local market for cruise ships in Haiti, or it’s found at a big box store in the U.S. It’s extremely frustrating, and time-consuming to go after art thieves, but that’s part of the double-edged sword with selling art online. If I don’t share my art that I’m selling in an online store, I can’t sell it…if I do, and use social media to share my art, I have realized there is no way to stop the thieves. That doesn’t stop me from going after them though. This is my livelihood. I am eternally grateful to my fans who know my art and don’t hesitate to ask if they see my art out there, whether it’s authorized or not.
I woke up to a message from a wonderful fan who shares my love of cats and Halloween, asking if I was selling my art at Pier 1. The answer, of course is no. So I went over to their website and sure enough, there was one of my most popular bicycle cats on a beaded pillow. It’s as though they printed the art and then just beaded over it. Butchering my poor kitty’s eyes nonetheless. Now, I have painted this particular black cat on bicycle with the scarf and pumpkin about 10-12 times, so I went through and found the one that they definitely copied. This one I remembered being a little bothered by the fact that I tucked the pumpkin behind the seat when I was painting, so that little detail stood out to me. You can clearly see the bushes on the right side matching up, the way the tail overlaps the scarf, and my wonky spokes on the wheels match up.
I had to share my frustration, since I’m sitting here replying to emails and sending out emails instead of painting, and that in turn just frustrates me even more. Not only is it art theft, but it’s stealing my time.