Archive for April 12th, 2010

I wrote the other day about an episode where my work- its format, content and style- had been seemingly appropriated by another artist in a city where my work regularly shows.  It was baffling because I knew and liked this person and had dealt with them in the past.  So I showed his work to a number of people who know my work very well and, to a person, they agreed that it was obvious that this was an attempt at replicating my work in nearly all aspects and that I was going to have to do something to counter this.  As much as I wanted to write it off as mere coincidence,  there were too many factors indicating otherwise for me to simply and philosophically shrug this off.

I contacted him and pointed out my concerns.  I really didn’t know what to expect.  In this era of rude and shameless behavior, I steeled myself for an argument.  But his response was quick and gracious.  He claimed to be ignorant of the similarities which, at first, I thought was a bit disingenuous but began to realize after a bit was truly the case.  This fellow really did seem to have a blind spot in this situation.  He asked his wife and some artist friends if they saw what I was seeing and they did.  Embarrassed, he got back to me quickly and agreed to pull the work from the website and would show the remaining pieces in his studio with “in the style of GC Myers” on the back and price tag of each piece.

That satisfied me and I consider the case closed.

I wished I felt more satisfaction.  I know I was in the right but part of me empathizes with this guy.  He is still struggling to find his own voice for self expression and has many long hours ahead before it will take shape.  Sometimes the prospect of that can be daunting in a world where instant gratification rules.

Perhaps that is why I was so protective of my work in this instant.  I realized, looking at his paintings that so resembled mine, the sheer amount of effort I have expended in the past fifteen years to get my work to the point where it now stands.  It is the result of spending literally tens of thousands of hours alone in my studio, agonizing over every aspect of the work.  I have struggled and sacrificed to make my work my own.  To make it an expression of who and what I am.  To make it my true voice.  It has been a long journey and there were no shortcuts taken.

It took this to make me realize what a precious thing this is to me, indeed.  These paintings of mine are not mere merchandise, products of commerce that can be easily copied like designer jeans or handbags on the street.  They are the products of spirit and thought, things that can’t be priced or simply copied.  But things that I now know must be protected.

I really hope this other person understands the journey he faces and is willing to undergo it.  You can only follow someone else’s path for so long before you must forge your own way.  But if he can stick with it, his efforts will produce something he can call his own and will be rewarded in some way.

I wish him well.

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