Which one is the Impostor?

One of my goals, when I began my metalsmithing blog was to share my journey as a metalsmith.  I wanted to document my journey.  I’ve enjoyed sharing my process and I do not intend to stop being open about my inspirations, designs, creative process and techniques.  However, in the past number of months, I have found that someone has started to copy my work or I should say she tried to copy it.  Her first copy was a variation of my Namaste piece; not a complete duplicate, but the evidence was there of an attempt to recreate what I had done with Namaste.  At first I dismissed it, naively thinking it was just a coincidence.  Then it became more apparent and this week, Lexi saw the impostor’s “work” too.  She was very upset that someone had blatantly copied my designs and asked me if I had seen the latest piece.  I checked it out, confirmed that yes, it was yet another copy of one of my designs.  To look at this person’s blog, you can see the transformation in her work as she started to copy my designs.  I am not boasting or bragging about how great my work is here, I am just stating a fact.

Now I’m confronted with a situation that I find unpleasant.  I thought this person was an online friend.  Clearly that is not the case.  I am disappointed.  I’m not one of the big names in the art jewelry industry.  I’m working on finding my way and have openly shared my journey here.  And yes I realize that an online persona may not be the real one, yet I have developed many friendships here in cyberspace with fellow artists that I respect and admire.

I have considered contacting her and asking her to stop.  She has no problem blogging about “her designs”, posting them in her Etsy store, Facebook, etc.  I know of fellow art jewelers, such as Tamra Gentry, who have engaged in stimulating and intellectual discussions about this dilemma on their blogs and Facebook.  Some of the questions raised are what course of action we should take when these copycats take our designs and use them for their own gains?  Clearly, Tamra has experienced this problem with people copying her designs too as I’m sure many of you have.  How have you dealt with it?

For me I think it boils down to this….the people who copy others work, lacks imagination, creativity and the self-confidence to experiment and grow as artists.

As Lexi so eloquently wrote on my Facebook page:

“The person who knocks off anyone’s pieces, and notice I didn’t call them an artist, is only copying a technique. They didn’t travel down the road that resulted in the destination of that piece. They made an empty shell. And as a person, they very well may be empty, with no vision. Whatever it is, it is their unfortunate situation, and certainly not yours.”

I have to agree with Lexi, a copycat is an empty person, with no vision.  They certainly do not deserve the moniker ‘Artist’.

This is my letter to the Impostor:

“Challenge Accepted!  You have committed what I consider to be one of the cardinal sins against an artist (notice I do not consider you a fellow artist) and that is you have stolen designs and claimed them as your own, offering them up for sale in your Etsy store and elsewhere.

Thank you for providing the impetus for me to ‘suit up’ and bring my A-Game like you have never seen before.  I have integrity.  I will know if you attempt to copy these new works I will create.  You can never capture the soul of my pieces.

Understand that if I see any of my new series, such as Mountainesque or Arts & Crafts Impressions or the new ones to come, I will notify you that you must cease and desist.  My work is copyrighted.  I will not tolerate the continued pilfering of my artwork.

You have been put on notice.  I know you read my blog.  I will be watching to protect what is rightfully mine.  The Universe is watching too.”

Being copied comes with the territory.  I get that.  What disappoints is the person who proclaims to be a friend and admirer.  I have your number, Impostor.

I want to thank the rest of you who read my blog for indulging me in this post.  I realize it is a hot topic with my fellow artists and I would enjoy knowing what you have done, if you have found your work plagiarized.

My thanks too, to two of my Studio Mascots, Nocturne & Bueller, for helping to interject some humor into this very serious topic.  Dan has to take those photos pretty quick as I’m sure you can imagine.  🙂

Until next time, I am aspiring to be more as an artist and a person.