Saturday, March 12, 2016

Art Theft, Misunderstandings, and New Friends

I just found an artist had copied my work and sold it locally. When I first saw the image of him standing proudly with his painting and offering it for sale on a neighborhood FB page, my heart sank.
Since I have worked for over a decade on building a recognizable brand, you can understand how annoying it is to have my work stolen and sold overseas (China sells tons of DawgArt prints without my permission) and pilfered by artists here in the U.S. I'll come back to this local artist in a moment.
When I was in art school, I did a lot of what were called 'master copies' or 'studies'. This is when an artist will find a painting they would like to copy as a learning exercise, to practice style, composition, paint application, etc. It's actually a very valuable learning tool. I advise any budding artists to make as many master copies as possible. It's the best way to learn from people who know what they're doing. BUT, to sell prints of those paintings, or to take credit for them, is wrong.
When I was a student in 2011, I found a lovely equine painting by Annrika James, and completed a study of the painting as part of a media techniques class.
Here's the original:
And here's my copy:
Obvi, hers is better. It has more verve, better paint application, better color. It's probably oil, and it probably wasn't 8x10 inches. But I don't actually know that much about it, because there isn't a large body of work by the artist available online. As far as I know. And I TRIED to find out.
My study turned out okay. I like it. I actually had a lot of people ask me if they could buy a print of the piece. Obviously, I never sold prints of the painting. Because it wasn't mine. The image belongs to Ms. James.
Another time, when I was in school, our teacher had us do a painting of a statue, as an exercise in value rendering. I legitimately thought the statue we were painting was an Ancient Grego-Roman piece of artwork. So when I finished the painting, which I thought was pretty cool, I sold prints of it. Later, I was contacted by an artist who was a little put out that I was selling copies of his work. He explained that the statue was a digital render (not a real live statue, but pixels only, and AMAZING because I thought it was real) and my painting was too close of a copy for him to feel comfortable with me selling his work. He asked that I remove any print listings and provide an accurate attribution. I did so immediately
Fast forward to almost exactly five years to now. I've had many people copy my DawgArt paintings and sell them, or manufacture prints of my paintings without my permission and sell them. OUCH. I even had one animal rescue organization ask me for a donation for their annual art show and when they invited me to look at an online album of their 2015 art show, look what I found in their album:
And just to refresh your memory, or if you haven't pored over ever single painting I've ever done ;), here's the original:
I pointed it out to the donation solicitor in my reply email and she said, "I don't even know what to say." Since it was a donation to charity (something I do a lot), what could I really say about it? I look at it as a master copy. They aren't selling prints after all. And the rescue had nothing to do with it.
So, back to the artist I ran across today, selling copies of my work. I'm not talking about copying my style, which I don't even consider to be a thing. There are hundreds of artists, if not thousands, around the world, painting animals in arbitrary color. I know a few of them. I'm talking about looking at a painting I made and painting a copy of that painting, using the same colors, etc., onto a new substrate and selling it. Granted, this artist did add his own flair in the background, but the subject dog was recognizably copied from DawgArt.
I ran through the post comments, finding lots of requests for custom paintings. Blergh. I commented in the post that the art was a copy of mine, and added the original image. Then I visited his art page, found ANOTHER painting that was copied from DawgArt, and I messaged him, kindly asking him to please give credit where credit was due. I didn't ask him to stop selling the work, only to give me credit and to let people know about DawgArt.
I'm in the habit of assuming the best of people, and giving people the benefit of the doubt, so obviously while my message was worded in a way to brook no misunderstanding, I wasn't nasty about it. I subscribe to the philosophy of abundant thinking, in life, and in the art community. (Want to know more about these ideas and how they apply to the art industry? Follow one of my art profs, Will Terry.) I think we all learn from each other, and I think there is a place for everyone.
So guess how this artist responded? He was humble, gracious, and apologetic. He explained that three possible clients sent him photos of my work, and asked him to reproduce it for payment. One of the images he received could have easily had the watermark removed and as for the other, I found a source that it could have been pulled from that had NO watermark. (My mistake.) He said he did not realize that these images belonged to anyone and pulled the For Sale post from the neighborhood FB page immediately. I explained to him what I've learned from years in the art industry, selling artwork by commission, and taking custom orders, as well as ideas about Fair Use and what is considered polite in the art community. He was very open to my requests and suggestions, and thanked me profusely for reaching out to him. We had a nice conversation on FB IM, and decided to keep in touch as friends.
A couple of hours later, he let me know he had put up a new post on his page and asked if it was okay. In the post, he credits me as his inspiration to adventure into a new style, linked his followers to DawgArt, and was very complimentary. It was very heart-warming, to have this interaction with another human being. It could have gone very sideways, but it ended up being a wonderful way to connect with an up-and-coming artist.
He actually specializes in outsider art, graffiti style, with an emphasis in fan art. He works on wood, with custom-made stencils and spray paint. So, I'd like to introduce you to Jeremiah Pantoja. Here are a few samples of his work, that you can find on his Facebook page Artistic Lifestyle. You know what a Star Wars fan I am, so I'm sharing the SW stuff, but he does everything.
So go check out his work, give him some love, and maybe commission a piece or two at his rock-bottom prices. Someday he'll start charging more, and then you'll be out of luck.
May you all go forth and assume the best of people, keep an open mind, and make new friends.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's About That Time

You've probably noticed, I'm much more active on Tumblr, Facebook, and Insta than I am here.  Social media is just easier, ya know?

Also, I was talking with Geary about my creative cycles and we hit on something very interesting about my most productive periods of the year, and in spite of painting on commission during those months, the holidays are my creatively fallow period. So I go a little radio silent during those times.

But here I am!

And to tide you over, I offer here a DawgArt image the likes of which have never been seen before!


Not really. You've seen stuff like this before from me. But look at this roly poly little guy posing with his portrait. Make you want your own, right? Portrait I mean, not dachshund. Or, I dunno, maybe you do want a dachshund. Then you could get it painted!

Anyway, love you guys and I'll check in again soon.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday Sale 2015


Hey there, DawgArt fans and friends! Bet you were wondering when DawgArt would have its annual holiday sale. We could have taken advantage of the craziness of Black Friday, the growing popularity of Small Business Saturday, or the relatively new Cyber Monday. But we figured, why not give you a little longer to shop? Never fear -- the time is here.

Looking for that perfect gift for that special someone? Or even for yourself! This week only, get gift certificates and original studio paintings* in the DawgArt Etsy shop for 20% OFF. Just use this coupon code at checkout:

happyhowlidays15

This sale has been extended, due to popular demand. Order your gift certificate today!

Want to know more?

Gift certificates are a great way to present the joy of custom artwork, a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable gift! Gift certificates can be redeemed by the recipient for a custom pet portrait. The recipient will provide the photos of their pet and complete the process at their convenience. Gift certificates are 8.5 x 11 full-color, with examples of artwork, a customized message for your recipient, and instructions on how to complete the commission. I can even send you the image of the gift certificate through email, so that you can print it for gift giving at the last minute. Going through the commission process with DawgArt is fun and exciting, and makes a unique experience for your loved ones that will be capped off by a beautiful piece of artwork that will be treasured for years to come.

OR

You can get 20% off the price of an original painting currently in the DawgArt studio. These are pieces I've painted for exhibitions, shows, and as parts of series. All original paintings are acrylic on canvas, created entirely with traditional methods by me in the studio. Perfect for the art collector, or fan of a specific breed.

Here are the links you need:
and

Don't forget to check out with coupon code: happyhowlidays15

*Please note: This sale does not apply to custom artwork to be completed for the holidays. This sale only applies to gift certificates to be redeemed after Christmas, and preexisting paintings from the DawgArt studio. 

My waiting list for Christmas is closed and I am not accepting any new commissions for holiday completion, UNLESS you wish to pay exorbitant rush fees. If you do wish to pay for a rush, feel free to email me.


Friday, October 2, 2015

DawgArt Calendar!

Wondering what calendar to get for 2016?

Great news!


My Dog Spot in Pasadena, California is sponsoring the first DawgArt calendar. It will feature 12 colorful, all-new, DawgArt, pet-portrait paintings! A portion of the proceeds will, of course, go to charity: Yorkie Rescue of America and Southern California Cat Adoption Tails.

The calendars are in preorder. Click here (and scroll down) to order yours today!

In the meantime, if you'd like your own painting (Christmas is coming!), click here for all the info.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

DawgArt ABC Book

I've finally started work on the DawgArt ABC book. Every original painting will be available for sale, as well as prints in the Etsy shop here and eventually customizable posters with the entire series.

I'm painting them all on 11x14 inch canvases. Here are the first two paintings in the series!

Aqua Afghan Hound

Apple Green Airedale Terrier

What a fun and silly project. Which breeds would you like to see? Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Book AND Painting Classes - DawgArt style!

The new art technique instruction book for kids, DIY Dog Portraits, is available for preorder on Amazon! It features eight techniques for capturing your favorite canine's likeness, including a step-by-step DawgArt project! Perfect for the budding artist who loves animals OR for a DawgArt collector.

In other news:

I have had a few people express interest in an online class teaching painting techniques in acrylic. Paint-along classes! If you're one of these people, time to get excited.



Anyone interested in doing an online class with me, please email me at dawgart.info [at] gmail [dot] com. Once I have a list of interested folks, I will move forward with putting together logistics. Share this news with your creative friends!

(For those in the valley -- metro-Phoenix area -- I may be starting in-person classes too. I'll keep you updated on that.)