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Life Lately - New Home

Since it's been so long since a life lately post, I wanted to make a general update from the past year or so. I may make future posts that go back with more details, but for now, something simple.

In 2015 Micah and I decided to move back to Oklahoma. OKC was calling and we definitely felt it was where we were supposed to be. Luckily we still feel that way ;)

For a year we lived in a really awesome condo that I could never ever afford without having a roommate, which happened to be my sweet brother-in-law. If you follow me on Instagram you might remember all the insane sunrises from that place. I really miss that.

This past autumn we took the plunge and bought our first home. It's in a woodsy neighborhood in OKC thats close to some of our favorite places. We love it here so much, and I know Rina does too. We have an enclosed patio that I call the "catio" that she essentially lives in now (she wishes). 

Right now I'm still in the process of converting the formal dining room to my studio space. This is the most space I've had dedicated to art stuff only, and I feel overwhelmed sometimes that I even get to do this for a living. I'll post more once I get more paintings hung and organized. 

I've also recently given my website a little facelift and added a list of all the retailers who carry my artwork in their shops. That's all for now, much love! 

Plagiarism is a Taboo Word

Hi guys, I know it's been over a year since I've posted, but in light of recent events I wanted to post the full story here. 

My artwork was traced by an artist who turned my custom designs into embroideries. She was not just inspired by my designs, but copied every flower placement, vine, and leaf from my custom pieces. She did not have permission from me to do this.

Around the time of October 14-17, major art sites like Colossal, Bored Panda, Fubiz, SoSuperAwesome, Mental Floss, and countless others were posting her work without mention that I was the creator of those designs. It took about 1-2 days before I was made aware, and by then the damage was already done. Bored Panda's Facebook post received approximately 10k likes and 2k shares. Colossal also had 10k likes and 5k shares. This artist made upward of $1000 in just a few days on her etsy (off just my designs) before I had the Etsy legal team shut it all down. 

My main goal was to make sure the sales stopped (they are no longer listed), but it killed me to see comments on these art sites from people praising this girl for making art that was "so unique". I messaged all the art sites in regards to this and received a huge mix of responses...some I never saw coming.

Sosuperawesome on tumblr reacted immediately and took down the plagiarized art, reposted my tumblr post on plagiarism, personally apologized to me, and then posted some of my art. This went above and beyond my expectations, and I commend them for sticking up for artists. They give me hope that there really is a loving community for artists, and I will forever be a fan.

On the other side, Colossal took days to respond after completely ignoring messages from my friends, followers, and myself. They finally updated their site post (I'd link but I don't want to give them site clicks), but only stated that the work in question was "inspired" by me. I don't know how blatant plagiarism equates to inspiration, but that was apparently their take on that. I quickly emailed them to express my disappointment with the update, and I received an email that included this line,

"I feel the designs [from the embroidery artist] are original enough and in a different medium, and the artist herself communicated/admitted to us that she did in fact use your work as reference. We've updated the post accordingly." - Colossal

This makes me sad. To steal someone's designs and make it in a different medium does not justify originality. Changing the medium does not change the copyright infringement. She did not just reference my art, but traced it almost 100%. He also expressed to me that reporting on plagiarism was out of scope of what they do. I also had Bored Panda privately message me to say they don't condone plagiarism, yet none of these sites seemed interested in the main party being effected: me. None (except for sosuperawesome) updated their Facebook posts where most of the damage occurred, or made new posts of my art. Very few apologized to me. 

Why is plagiarism so taboo? Why is it so easy for the public to recognize something as being a blatant copy, yet the big guys at Bored Panda and Colossal want nothing to do with it? How can you say you support artists when you let this injustice occur?

At this point I just feel broken. The past few days have been an anxiety ridden nightmare and I've barely been able to eat or sleep. I'm ready for this to be over and have ceased communication with Colossal and the others as I don't believe they will be of further help.

I do want to say thank you so incredibly much to my friends, family, and followers for being so supportive. You guys are the community that truly matter. You saw an injustice and made your voices heard. I will forever appreciate this. For everyone who shared my Facebook post, thank you from the bottom of my (floral) heart.

EDIT: I wanted to add that I wish no ill will towards the girl who used my designs and my hope is that she blossoms as an artist, creates her own unique works, and gets to do what she loves. I think her embroideries are beautifully made, but the harm came from the online response her works received. Without the social media response this would have been a relatively quick and private matter. I think it's important as artists for us to be careful with our reference photos, and in doubt always ask the artist! I know it's hard and perhaps I've made the same mistakes, but at the very least I think it's a lesson we can take into account when putting new art out there for the world to see. 

 

Cycles

I've been gradually working on larger paintings and offering larger sized prints lately. Tinyartshop started in 2012 as miniatures were a huge interest of mine, and while I still love tiny paintings and will continue to make them, painting larger pieces has been stirring in my heart lately and I've been following the desire to work on a bigger scale. Life is so cyclic and I often go where it wants to take me. In college I worked on a large scale (there were a few pieces that were hard to get in and out of doorways) and I explored going larger and larger. After awhile I reversed and went small, exploring how small I could go (I have a 1x1 inch etching of a tooth). Right now I'm kind of in-between and whatever it is I want to paint (a galaxy, a portrait, anatomy) I let the image decide for me. Usually I can feel if something needs to be smaller or larger, but it's still a process figuring it all out. I'm having fun with it. 

Speaking of going larger, I now have larger prints available in the shop. Floral Anatomy Heart (along with Skeleton and Ribcage) come in 5x7, 8x10 and now 11x14 inches. Eventually I think it'd been fun to get into poster sized prints. There's so many things stirring in me that I'm itching to do, but there's never enough time. Regardless, I'm excited with the new things I've been working on, including this celestial siren I'm painting. She'll eventually have galaxies in her hair. I love her already. 

Afternoon light selfies. I don't know what I'd do without the afternoon light in my studio. It warms my soul and revitalizes me. I feel the same with moonlight, though I don't get to see the moon as easily from my apartment at the moment. My first dorm in college had a large window next to my bed and I always fell asleep by the moonlight and it was one of the most comforting things. I'm starting to go off on a tangent, so I'll end this post with this: I'm thankful for sunlight, for Austin, for feeling the motivation to paint, and for Mondays. Hopefully that will last all week. ;)

Instagram is…weird

For the most part, I enjoy social media. I'm a visual person and I like seeing all these amazing and beautiful things other people share. It's also really cool to find other artists, etc out there and sort of become online friends. Weirdly enough, this is also what I don't like about Instagram (there's other issues as well).

Awhile ago I stupidly downloaded an app that lets you know how many followers you gain/lose, and I didn't realize how bad of an idea that was (originally I thought it would be interesting to track). Of course people are always going to unfollow you, and that's fine. What was hard was seeing people I knew, i.e.: artists I admired, schoolmates, and some of my favorite local shops, all unfollow me. I guess it didn't bother me too much until last week when an artist who I admired and chatted with every now and then all of sudden unfollowed me out of the blue and I kind of thought…what? What did I do! Too many cat photos? Regardless, the unfollow app is getting deleted, and I'm no longer looking at who follows OR unfollows me. I suppose it really doesn't matter, right?

I like sharing photos and I like viewing other's photos, and really it should be left at that. Sometimes I think we get too caught up in the likes and dislikes that it begins to ruin the whole experience. You shouldn't care how many people liked or didn't like your selfie, if you want to post a photo of yourself just do it and leave it at that. Mean comments? Ignore them or delete them. I think social media is good/bad, but the good is sharing the human experience and being inspired by what others have to say. Plus sometimes it's fun to just look at cute cats.

new year

I'm no good with resolutions, but I do like to write goals down in my sketchbook (and my Wunderlist app) to keep me on track of all the insane amount of things I want to do. I had a post awhile ago about things I wanted to do when I turned 27. This included things like camping, stargazing, studying other planets, learning to identify plants, skinny-dip, etc. I think I've done maybe half the list, but hey, between a few moves and living with someone in grad school it's pretty difficult to do things as simple as camping. But nonetheless, I'm very pro-list and like having a visual to check in on. So to add to my list of goals with no particular timeline in mind, here's some new things I'm interested in!

- Explore Hamilton pool

- Campout in hill country

- Apply to more retail shops

- Learn about alchemy 

- Sketch/paint outside

- Learn more about ancient Egypt

- Learn more about the stars

- Catch up on Game of Thrones books

- Watch the X-Files (I've had a crush on David Duchovny since I was 13)

- More bike rides

- Eat foods I can't pronounce 

- More sunrises/sunsets

- Sleep in a treehouse

- Eat outside

- Visit Arizona & Utah

- Continue watching documentaries 

- Stand behind a waterfall

There's more, but if I added all of them it would probably be incredibly boring and super long. ;) Hope you all are having a lovely new year! It's fun to start writing 2015 on new paintings. This year will be crazy but I'm kind of excited about it.