It takes a lot of time and effort to define your own style in any medium. In fact, each aspect of establishing your own business can take a lot of hard work. Right down to the hashtags that you’ve meticulously researched, or the policies you write out for your specific brand. Your photos and listing descriptions. With each day, month, and passing year that you’re in business for yourself there are changes that are made. You remold, redraft, and re-word until finally you’ve settled into a comfortable rhythm.
When an artist’s distinctive style, techniques, designs, photos, descriptions, or policies are copied word for word, it’s called plagiarism. There is a reason why in school we are taught to not plagiarize other students or authors work. Using images without credit or consent for personal gain. Having your hard work stolen and sold for personal gain feels like a nightmare where your life’s work is no longer yours. You’re shrinking on the inside and feeling like the art you love is smothering you. It’s an awful feeling.
I know many of my artist friends have been through this. Everyone handles it differently. Some have tried speaking kindly, privately, openly, aggressively, or have even stayed silent. I found myself in the latter category for some time. That is until recently, when I found that another artist has been plagiarizing my designs, techniques, and even my Etsy policies word for word. So this is a message to those just starting out with their craft: Learn. Respect the artists you love. Be inspired but seek your own voice. Even though the road is long, you will find yourself out there. We’ve all been there, we all know how frustrating it is. I was there. I had to figure it out too. Take your time and do it right and the reward will be great.
Let’s encourage and lift each other up in the best of times. Let’s also defend our work, and the work of the artists we love in the worst of times. Speak up and speak out, see something say something. The little things make a huge difference. If it wasn’t for you all, I would be the person who shrinks. But not today and not now.