Breaking the self imposed hiatus to rant! I've been on DA for quite a few years (this isn't my first account) and I've never really been bothered by art thieves or suchlike, but recently I found out that someone actually ripped all the pictures and descriptions off my Etsy site (without my knowledge or permission, obviously) and relisted them on his own website for a tidy profit. I'm not the only person whose jewelry was up there, and I've already contacted them to let them know about the site, as well as asked the owner to take them off, though I don't know yet if he will. A screenshot (edited out the address/links as there's no need for anyone to harass him, I've already contacted the other people involved) with comparison to the original price:
So, I guess art thieves don't just stick to images nowadays. The saddest part of this is, he's someone who makes jewelry himself and I actually watch him on DA because I admire his work. If you're such a good artist yourself, why try to make a profit off other people's work?
Just signal-boosting this issue on DA - to the people who SELL jewelry, keep an eye out for people who keep inquiring about your work, or about postage to many different places, as this might mean they're sending it to other people. And to the people who BUY jewelry, do support the original artist and try to make sure, if you're buying handmade stuff online, that the site is legit owned or approved as a seller of that artists' work.
And just for the record, my work is only available on my two Etsy shops: www.etsy.com/shop/ValkyrieCout…
. If you see it anywhere else, it's most likely a reseller. (And please let me know!)
All this just made me think more about what it really means to be an "art thief" - and I think it boils down to taking credit OR profiting from someone else's work without their knowledge or permission. I don't believe in jealously guarding "secrets of the trade" or things like that - I think my FAQ and supplies lists alone is actually more than enough for anyone who wants to make similar types of jewelry (or even to replicate one of my designs) to do so for themselves.
With jewelry, even more than other forms of art, it's easy to have similar styles and items especially if you work with the same materials or items from the same supplier. I myself have encountered problems like that from both sides, insinuations of copying aspects of other people's designs, as well as looking at someone's items/descriptions and knowing it was based off one of mine. And so now I'm much more wary when making new things - indeed, I haven't posted anything new in a long while because I've been trying to find something other than the brass filigree I've been doing. I saw a comment a long time ago where someone said "no jewelry of this kind is original or worth making, because the people who assemble it didn't carve the original designs".
I'd never actually thought about it that way, and I'll admit it was a bit of a paradigm shift. I don't fully take his point, because I think that some of the jewelry created by the people who work in this style is the most beautiful I've ever seen
At the same time, I understand the logic behind it. And here's something to consider:
There's no such thing as 'original' in this world. We are born, and we learn. We have no choice but to take from those who accomplished what we want to accomplish.
See, we are faced with the choice of either threading our own path blindly, with all signs pointing to our failure, or to look forward and glimpse at the direction our predecessors traveled successfully. The choice is easy being that we fear death, and thus originality is non-existent.
What we can do is better upon the path our predecessors set. We can turn that dirt road into a paved highway. We can take that steam car and make an electric car. We can
so forth and so forth.
It's not where you take things from it's where you take them to.
I really couldn't have put it better myself, and I do think that without being inspired by others, the work we are capable of producing in a complete vacuum isn't worth much at all. Digressing into my mythological/literary interest - I'm sure loads of people have heard of the film/musical "My Fair Lady" (it's been called the "perfect musical"). And this "perfect" creation was based off George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion
, which drew from Gilbert's Pygmalion and Galatea
, which was in turn inspired by Ovid's Pygmalion
. And these are just the most direct descendants of that first great work, not including the long list of works that have included a Pygmalion motif - from Shakespeare to Disney's Pinocchio.
(I will shut up about books now), but my point is - one point of inspiration can lead to so many other brilliant works, and there is so much in this world to explore and draw inspiration from. So instead of trying to gain fame or profit from taking something wholesale from someone else without even understanding the hard work and beauty that goes into it- why don't we take a step back, and try to learn from it instead? Instead of stealing art... make some of your own