You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘art thief’ tag.

Hillary Clinton is not your white savior.

Genius hacks that will greatly improve your photography skills in less than three minutes.

Guatemalan artisans are going after 64,000+ Etsy products for copyright infringement.

Someone made an “inspirational” Instagram account for people who hate inspirational quotes and it’s hilarious.

Why is finding a job so hard and frustrating these days?

Mary and the Witch Flower was made with free OpenToonz animation software.

How artists are bypassing dealers and selling directly to collectors.

These tiny Drawbots put unique doodles on coasters.

Say goodbye to The Pizza Time Players: Chuck E. Cheese retires its animatronic band.

How Young Adult novel fans uncovered a huge scam on The New York Times bestseller list.

Meet Lillith, a chill demon who was cast out of Eden.

Morph your fridge into a massive Game Boy with these awesome magnets.

Five pieces of good news about the recent surge of Nazis.

Why the media should carry some of the blame for the rise of Trump.

Why med schools are requiring art classes.

Photos of abandoned Olympics venues from around the world.

Inside Celebration, Florida: The depressing crime-ridden city built by the Walt Disney Company.

Hear what Shakespeare sounded like in the original pronunciation.

Trump is shedding supporters like no other president in modern history.

Meet Pepper, Japan’s robot priest that can now conduct funerals.


There’s something REALLY shady going on with Equifax’s website.

Dead air: The ruins of WFBR radio.

How LuLaRoe stole someone else’s art for its clothes while keeping the original artist’s watermarked name on the item.

Photos of auto mechanics recreating Renaissance-era paintings.

How to stop Google and the police from tracking your every move.

Wonderful photographs of Victorian women of color.

Hundred-year-old fruitcake found in Antarctica is in “excellent condition.”

Miniature scenes with a darkly satirical twist by Frank Kunert.

There’s a Tumblr full of Nazis getting punched because that will always be awesome.

A free tutorial on the sashiko embroidery technique.

Digital versions of twenty-five thousand songs recorded onto vintage 78RPM records have been released online for free.

Amazon scammers’ new trick: shipping things to random widows in your town.

Watch Don’t Be a Sucker!, the 1947 U.S. government anti-hatred film that’s relevant again in 2017 for free.

An intimate look inside a rare kingdom where women reign.

The last American baseball glove manufacturer refuses to die.

Robert E. Lee opposed Confederate monuments.

An interesting graphic based on philosopher Karl Popper’s The Paradox of Tolerance.

The retro-industrial wonders of the Mold-A-Rama coin-operated machine.

Listen to the voice recordings of black American slaves.

Kurt Cobain was not only the lead singer and guitarist of Nirvana but he was also a talented visual artist as well.

How classic cartoons created a culturally literate generation.

People are furious at these new shirts from Kylie and Kendall Jenner.

Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian are accused of stealing ideas from indie African American designers. 

See photographs of figures in Russian history rendered in colorized portraits, such as Tolstoy, Chekhov, and more.

This artist is brining out the beauty in stretch marks.

The rise in art protests: how the gallery became a new battleground.

What it means to be on the left.

Interactive Periodic Table of Elements shows how the elements actually get used in making everyday things.

Someone called this white girl’s Japanese tea party racist on social media but then this Japanese user stepped in.

Gorgeous color autochromes of American women from over 100 years ago.

Creative mom dresses up in amazing cosplay to represent older women characters.

Fender custom shop recycles Hollywood Bowl bench boards to make $12k guitars.

Rural America is stranded in the dial-up age.

Director Michel Gondry makes a charming film on his iPhone, proving that we could be making movies, not taking selfies.

This man spent 6 years crocheting a Super Mario Bros map blanket.

Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals.

Transgender soldiers of the American Civil War.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

Meet the unconventional family who lives in a 1940s time warp.

$330,000 in financial aid bought this person a slot in the American meritocracy. He writes about the flaws in that system.


The Gig Economy won’t last because it’s being sued to death.

Fourteen artists proving that Black Americana is real.

How a British artist visualizes the microbiome through handmade embroidery.

Adorable robot friend Kuri can now find its way home to charge.

Hell on wheels: New York City’s subway system as seen in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Patches available at a jean jacket decorating party hosted by Harper’s Bazaar included ones that were made without permission from the original artists.

What an apple-picking robot means for the future of farm workers.

Meet Valkyrie, NASA’s space robot.

Independent retailers are struggling to survive in Washington, DC.

A look at a 2,000 year old computer called the Antikythera Mechanism.

Five obscure anime you should definitely check out.

San Francisco tries to ban delivery robots before they become a public safety hazard.

49 photography blogs worth following.

Man who struggled with Photoshop decided to spend 10 years mastering Microsoft Paint to illustrate his book.

FilmNation ventures into animation with sci-fi reimagining of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.

This open source AI voice assistant is challenging Siri and Alexa for market superiority.

Why open source AI voice assistants pose little threat to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

10 photography tricks you can do at home without having to use expensive camera equipment.

Plush sports-doll maker Bleacher Creatures files for bankruptcy.

The Internet isn’t killing shopping malls—other malls are.

NBCUniversal is buying the DIY craft tutorial site Craftsy.

Phony WordPress domain steals cookies to fool web admins.

Infertile mice with 3D-printed ovaries successfully give birth.

People of a certain age will probably remember the View-Master, the 3D stereophonic toy that played a variety of disks that showed 3D pictures. This link makes the case for many of these 3D pictures being literally works of art that tended to be overlooked because the View-Master target audience was children.

Check out how one woman made the ultimate video game fan outfit: A Space Invaders kimono. There is even a free tutorial on how you can create your own Space Invaders kimono that’s written in both Japanese and English.

Here is what happened when an organization known as Through Our Eyes gave out 100 disposable Fujifilm cameras to homeless people in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Here’s a heartfelt essay on Why Art Matters, Even in Poverty.

If you ever wonder why it’s hard to make a living as a photographer, check out Rant: It’s Too Easy for Huge Companies to Steal Photos Online. And on that related topic, here’s a story about how a photographer named Carol Highsmith has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Getty after she received a letter from Getty demanding that she pay a $120 license fee for one of her own photographs that she had previously donated to the Library of Congress for public domain use.

Rob Gonsalves is a painter whose surrealist style have led art critics to compare him to Salvador Dali. You can check out some of his work here and here.

An artist named Carlos Carmonamedina has been making new art each week since the start of 2016. The focus of his art is on making postcards of Washington, DC that reflect the beauty and wonder of the city that’s a far cry from what you see on official souvenir postcards. You can see more on his blog.

Read the incredible true story of how a National Geographic photographer was able to get spectacular pictures of pandas in their native habitat—by dressing as a panda herself.

The Internet literally exploded this week when it was revealed that the clothing retailer Zara has been accused of stealing the work of individual indie designers for its own clothes and jewelry without asking permission or even paying the original artists. Worse, when one of the artists contacted Zara about this, it had one of its lawyers write a letter saying that Zara fails to see how a significant part of the population anywhere in the world would associate these designs with that indie artist. Wow. Just wow. You can literally see the arrogance on full display in that lawyer’s letter.

Then there was the plight of an indie designer label known as Doggie Drawings, who learned that a fashion company known as Mudd, whose parent company is Iconix, have copied the design of a t-shirt sold in Kohl’s. Right now Doggie Drawings are trying to decide whether to launch a major crowdsourcing campaign (such as GoFundMe) in order to raise the needed funds to launch a copyright infringement suit against Iconix/Mudd.

The outrageous part about all this is that the reason why these big companies continue to rip off smaller indie designers time and time again is because they know they can get away with it. Filing a copyright infringement suit against a big company is very expensive and it can be very hard on the finances of a small-time artist. A small indie design company known as Modern Dogs launched a major copyright infringement case against Target and Disney. While Modern Dogs ultimately won, this article and video shows the major effort and legal costs it took for Modern Dogs to take on the giant corporations and win.

Normally I would save links like this for my weekly Link-O-Rama page but I’m writing a separate rant just this once because I feel this asshole deserves special attention. Here are the details, as taken from the DIY Photography site.

If you were to take a screen shot of someone’s Instagram account and try selling it, two things would happen. The first is that you’d be told you’re violating the copyright of the photographer whose photo you’re selling, and secondly you’d be laughed at. Extensively.

It turns out, though, that if you’re famous enough you can take such a screen shot and not only bypass copyright but also make a fortune doing so.

The secret: slap some text on it.

Richard Prince has been using this method and some of his “artwork” is said to have been sold for $100,000.

This form of lazy “art” becomes even more infuriating when you realize that in addition to selling (if you’d say stealing, I’m not sure I’d disagree) photos that do not belong to him and without the knowledge or consent of the owners, Prince also removed the accompanying captions.

You can find the rest of the story here, along with one of the victims of this guy’s antics. Of course she’s not seeing a single dime in profit from her Instagram post being used like this without her prior knowledge or consent, even though that canvas based on her Instagram post has already been sold to an art collector for thousands of dollars.

I also found Richard Prince’s official website, which has no contact information posted anywhere on it. (He probably doesn’t want to get any hostile e-mails from the people whose Instagram photos he ripped off.) According to articles like the one in the Gothamist, this exhibition of so-called “original art” is currently on display at the Frieze Art Fair in New York City. And here is the Frieze Art Fair’s Contact page in case you want to let them know how you feel about them exhibiting Richard Prince’s work.

UPDATE (May 23, 2015): Richard Prince is trending on Facebook as of this writing. One artist named Lynn Cartia has announced that she has appropriated one of Prince’s own paintings, did some digital alterations of it, and she plans to put it on sale both online and in her gallery as well. There has been no response from Richard Prince yet on the appropriation of his art for someone else’s financial gain (which is what he’s doing to a few Instagram users).

UPDATE (May 30, 2015): Among Richard Prince’s victims is Missy Suicide, whose Instagram photo was appropriated with new captions added then printed out and put on sale for $90,000. Missy Suicide has announced that she’s selling the same print as Prince (which was based on her photo), in the same size (67 x 55 inches), with the same materials (inkjet on canvas). The difference is that she’s charging only $90 instead of Prince’s $90,000 asking price. She is also donating the proceeds to the Electronic Freedom Foundation. You can purchase the $90 print right here.

I was pretty happy when I came across this article with this headline: Urban Outfitters Shares Are Crashing—Here Are The Biggest Problems With The Brand.

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer chain store. </sarcasm> I’ll admit that I don’t shop at Urban Outfitters because that chain is on my personal list of stores I’d love to see go out of business. Why all the hate? Here are my reasons:

1. They have a history of ripping off the designs of independent artists without credit or compensation. Here’s are a few examples:

2. They have a history of selling outrageous and controversial items not because they want to promote a message or take a courageous stand on a controversial issue but because they are simply a bunch of attention whores that have no compunction with selling crap like a t-shirt that has a star placed over the shirt’s left breast that looks similar to the Star of David patches that Jews throughout the Nazi-occupied areas of Europe had to wear during World War II.

3. But their douche behavior doesn’t end there. This next link has a laundry list of the crap that Urban Outfitters have pulled in an effort to get free publicity and encourage people to buy their overpriced crap (the majority of which are made in Third World countries for very cheap prices).

As for Urban Outfitters, I’ll buy something from them only if and when they have a “Going Out of Business” sale.

UPDATE (November 12, 2014): Just a few weeks after I wrote this post, I found out that Urban Outfitters had attention whored itself into yet another controversy. Those Hillary Clinton nutcrackers weren’t funny when Urban Outfitters originally sold them in 2008 and they still aren’t funny now. Talk about running an unfunny joke into the ground!

During the 2008 presidential campaign an artist named Shepherd Fairey created a poster that showed a digitized red, white, and blue image of then-Senator Barack Obama (who was running for president as a Democrat) with the word “HOPE” underneath. That poster immediately became iconic and some people even credit that poster for inspiring people the to vote for the first African-American ever elected as President of the United States. It was such a simple yet inspiring image that could’ve elevated Shepherd Fairey to the rank of that rare artist who achieved a level of fame and success for creating such a memorable image.

But there was one problem. It later came out that Shepherd Fairey used a photo that was taken by a freelance Associated Press photographer named Mannie Garcia when he created his Hope poster and he did it without getting permission from either Garcia or the AP. That revelation led AP to sue Fairey for copyright infringement, which cast a pall over Fairey’s artistic reputation.

I’ve had art teachers and professional artists advise me that if I am going to use a photo to create my own drawing, painting, digital art, etc., I should base it on my own photograph that I shoot myself with my own camera. That AP-Fairey lawsuit over the Hope poster was definitely a real-life version of that lesson.

Despite that incident, there are still would-be artists who try to cut corners by creating works of art based on other people’s photos without permission of the original copyright holder.

Before I started this blog I spent the bulk of 2009 recuperating from two surgeries in late 2008 (one was a hip replacement and the other happened six weeks later when the same surgeon had to remove a blood blister that developed when my body had a reaction to a blood thinner called Arixstra that my surgeon prescribed to me after the hip replacement). During my long recuperation I learned about a scandal that erupted in both the art world and among the Asian ball-jointed doll fandom about an artist named Mijn Schatje.

Mijn Schatje was a French-Dutch artist living in Paris whose digital art received massive acclaim in the art world. Her work was sold in art galleries throughout Europe for thousands of dollars. She was interviewed in major art magazines like Juxtapoz. She did the art for an ad campaign by Sony’s European subsidiary. Basically things were riding high for her. She was getting more and more noticed by the art world for her work. She was making a living with her art. She had gained admiring fans for her work. It was no surprise that her art had gained her public attention because if you saw her art, you’d notice that there was a doll-like quality among the females depicted in her work.

There’s a reason for the doll-like art. Some people in the Asian ball-jointed doll fandom recognized some of Mijn Schatje’s art from somewhere else and began their own investigation. It turned out that there was a very close match between much of Schatje’s vector digital art and photographs of dolls that were taken by either individual doll owners or doll companies. The doll fandom accused Mijn Schatje of downloading those photos off the Internet, importing them into Adobe Illustrator, tracing over the photographs, then passing them off to art galleries as her own original art. A website was erected that documented the similarities and many doll fans began to contact galleries, websites, art publications, doll companies, and the original photographers about that discovery.

The main website that originally documented the plagiarism of Mijn Schatje isn’t online anymore but there are other sites that still have the evidence posted at the following links:

Mijn Schatje – Art Thief

Bootleg Hell: The curious case of Mijn Schatje

mijn schatje & blastmilk comparisons

Mijn Schatje’s Plagiarized Works (Part 1)

Since that scandal broke not much has been publicly mentioned about Mijn Schatje or her art. Her official site hasn’t been updated since 2009 or 2010. Her Facebook page is more up-to-date even though it looks like she only posts there once every several weeks or so. One of her Facebook posts had this message that was dated April 26, 2013.

I’m moving out to Bali, indonesia, in less than two weeks, I’ll be working in a different field for some time (french pastry/bakery!), but stay here if you dare.

It looks like her art career hasn’t quite recovered from the plagiarism accusations. Maybe she’ll have better luck in her new career working in a French pastry/bakery in Bali. At least she won’t have to worry about people hurling plagiarism charges at her for baking croissants or eclairs.

Despite the bad outcome of Mijn Schatje’s art career, there are still people who can’t resist using someone else’s photographs without permission to create their own work of art to sell to the general public. Yesterday I accidentally found a more recent example when I decided to post my same photos that I used in yesterday’s Irish Lass in the Snow entry on the Den of Angels forum (which is one of the biggest Asian ball-jointed doll fan forums on the Internet). I hadn’t been on that forum in at least two years mainly because I was dealing with both recovering from my hip revision surgery in late 2011 and my husband’s sudden walkout on me just three months later without ever telling me that he was unhappy in our marriage. (In other words, I had more important things to worry about than dolls.)

I decided to peruse the other sections of the forum until I found a thread on yet another artist who decided to plagiarized someone else’s doll photos in an attempt to make a profit. The thread started on March 5 and, as of this writing, it has gone up to 37 pages.

Apparently an artist named Matthew Christopher Nelson had started a funding campaign on in an attempt to finance the publishing of an art book full of his work. Like Mijn Schatje, someone in the Asian ball-jointed doll fandom stumbled across Nelson’s Kickstarter page and recognized some of the art from photos that other doll fans had been posting on the Den of Angels. Like Mijn Schatje, other doll fans began their own investigation and found too many of Nelson’s pictures that bear a close resemblance to those doll fan photos. The doll fans began to organize online and, as of this writing, they have been instrumental in shutting down the Kickstarter campaign, Nolan’s deviantART account (which had featured the controversial art), and Nolan’s public Facebook page (which also featured the disputed art).

And there’s one more reason why Matthew Christopher Nelson is in the same boat that Mijn Schatje was back in 2009. Some doll fans have been posting online evidence that Nelson essentially took other people’s photos without permission from the original photographers, imported them into Adobe Photoshop, put them through a few Photoshop filters, then passed off the altered images as his own original art. Here are some links about the comparisons that feature lots of damning evidence.


Art Theft

“Artist” & “Fantasy Author” Matthew Christopher Nelson

It’s too early to see whether Nelson’s art career will tank just as badly as Mijn Schatje’s did. But this latest incident only drives home this lesson: If you are going to use photographs as a source material for your art, use only the photos that you took yourself from your camera. That way if someone accuses you of plagiarism or art theft, you’ll at least own the evidence that refutes that accusation.

In other words, don’t even THINK about using someone else’s photo for your art. It only takes one discovery to ruin your reputation. Of course some people will ignore the previous sentence and plagiarize anyway. That’s why sites like You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice exist and are constantly updated with new content. 😦

The next time you shop at Fab, Anthropologie, or Nordstroms and see some really cool stuff being sold at cheap prices by Cody Foster & Co., avoid buying it. That company has long ripped off indie designers by copying their designs and manufacturing them in Third World sweatshops while the original designers receive nothing in compensation. Many indie designers are self-employed who live and work on shoestring budgets and many of them can’t afford to sue because many lawyers ask for fees in six-digit figures.

You can learn more about Cody Foster & Co.’s despicable behavior at the following links:

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