l Watch Me
I recently discovered that my work was stolen in a very big way.
A very well off international club and a Grammy Award winning Producer/Dj- stole three of my images, removed my watermarks and signatures, and used them to advertise events this Summer that were so fucking grand that I honestly think the income from them would have probably paid my mortgage off several times over.
Needless to say, I was not even approached about being paid for this. Had they asked? I would have asked for an amount that would have been pennies to them. Seriously, it would have been nothing- and I would have been happy to do it.
Instead? I get to discover via Google image search- that I've been robbed by people who regularly have celebrities like Will Smith, Paris Hilton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger under their roof- and can afford to hire people like Seal to headline for them. People who obviously, could have afforded to toss a fair wage at an unpaid artist.
They stole my work, altered my images- mauled them in large portions by unskilled watermark removal, and in one instance- completely overlooked my own signature on the front of the image- and left it in their poster. I found out about it a week ago, and spent a few hours in the bathtub crying over the violation.
As I have said a million times- "Every Piece of Art is a Piece of an Artist". I don't create commercial work. I create personal work that is my only emotional outlet. It's a coping mechanism for me and always has been. It's why I didn't attempt to become a commercial artist-- because it's literally the only thing I've ever had that hasn't been able to be forced out of me unless I want to give it. And trust me when I say that-- because I was in an abusive relationship for 14 years-- where I was forced through two unwanted pregnancies without medical treatment and without a choice of whether or not I went through them. I have lost everything in my life- my children, my friends and family, even the name I was born with was only used on my art. I am suffering from a hereditary degenerative connective tissue disorder that is in full swing so I mean it when I say it- Art is the only thing that has ever been "mine" and mine alone that someone couldn't force out of me or take away from me- it's from experience. Art IS personal to me. It is my outlet. And if you doubt that I don't work out my problems in my art- consider how many images of mine had women with bent knees.. and that I'm losing my ability to walk and tell me I'm not producing personal, emotionally-sensitive-to-me work and trying to exorcise my demons.. Just because you can't see past the tits doesn't mean it's not still a piece of someone who's trying to put a voice to things they can't talk about.
And quite honestly? I've been putting my work online since 1998- at first, just to share with friends via my own private website.. and then the past 10+ years on dA- the last 5 years being super-active my dA account, at the insistence of family to "get my work out there" because they were incapable of hearing me when I repeatedly told them that I didn't want to be a professional artist- but they kept pushing anyway. DeviantArt was my compromise- I could say "I've got it 'out there'. I'm selling prints. I've got a hit and view counter that you can SEE that I'm having my work seen in large numbers. You can stop pushing now." Their inability to hear my wishes was just as much to blame as my inability to stand up for myself and establish boundaries like I knew I wanted and needed to do-- but you know, it's hard to disappoint family- especially when they are SO confident in your skill that they're willing to make you completely miserable about it.
However, the point is: I have been doing this for a long time. I never wanted to share my work, because it IS so personal to me. Since 1998 I have received a lot of positive feedback and made some great friends-- but on the opposite side of the coin, more frequent than the positive? I get the negative. I'm severely socially anxious- and I'm putting my work "out there" which is beyond my comfort zone, and the field I work in draws in all the perverts, aggressive assholes, ranting crazy people, and religious fanatics- all of whom have NO problem ripping into a complete stranger-and my underbelly is a little thinner than most people's.
I will say that in the 17 years I've been putting work online, and especially the 10+ that I've been a part of dA? I've watched countless artists attacked, robbed, and generally treated like shit- because they did nothing more than share their hobby and passion with the world. It's reprehensible behavior that has become all too common.
I'll say it again. This is personal work. This is my own personal emotional outlet. I am not a professional. I don't get a fucking penny for my work- in fact, like all artists, I'm out the costs of buying all the models/programs/materials in order to make it. Yet complete strangers seem to think that it's non-personal professional work and they somehow think they are entitled to tell me how I should change it to suit them. They think I am cashing a check and releasing it to the world and can cut ties with it and just let it go. I can't. It's my personal work. It's the only format that I can express myself in. Maybe if I was being paid for it I could make peace with the awful shit people do it it? BUT I'M NOT. I'm putting it out there FOR FREE- and having to deal with all the bullshit theft and abuse that you people throw at it for no payment at all.
This week in addition to the biggest theft of my life- I also had three other instances where people have stolen my work and are reselling it via Photobucket Prints, Russian cell phone sites, or for advertisements for their Brazilian White Voodoo consultations. Every week I have to file 3-20 DMCA complaints to have my work pulled from various sites that are selling prints/using it to promote events and businesses/have mangled it to the point of ruining the images-- all despite being clearly labeled and watermarked as much as I possibly can to protect it. Everyone seems to think it's WORTH stealing. No one thinks it's worth licensing or paying for. I don't make a penny off of my work- but a lot of people do.
I'm really really tired of all the strife people seem to think they're allowed to give me because of my art. It's personal work- you have NO input on how I express myself, personally.
I'm tired of the theft.
I'm tired of the family pushing me like they think I'm gonna make a million dollars off of it . I've had over a million people stroll through my galleries and not buy shit. That's the state of visual art in the internet age combined with the fact that I don't WANT to be a professional artist. I'm tired of being told I need to take prints to the Renn Faire, wear a tight corset, and flash my tits to get people to buy my art- that's not people buying art. If I have to flash my tits to sell my artwork- then I need to spend time practicing my art- not shaking my shit for strangers.
I'm tired of people thinking they have a right to voice their opinions about what I should do with my personal self expression and emotional outlet.
I'm tired of being used because I have an unmonetized skill and everyone thinks that means my time has no value- and so I should give it away for free.
I'm tired of people trying to convince me that they're doing ME a favor by using my work without any compensation.
I'm tired of petty assholes who'll come in and criticize the reality of angles on fantasy creatures -you've got a problem with the realism of the bend of the tail on a "Fantasy" image? The realism doesn't matter where her 4 arms and half snake body were concerned- yet a bend in tail you can't clearly see is going to offend your ideal of realism enough to criticize.. *facepalm*
I'm tired of idiots saying "Don't be mad, I'm not trying to claim this as mine" when they've removed ALL my watermarks and identification and used my images against my obvious wishes and taken all the credit for my work.
I'm tired of the notes from the perverts telling me they're masturbating in their sister's panties while they look at my art.
I'm tired of catty comments from obese women chastising me for my women being too thin.
I'm tired of comments from men telling me my women need to be thinner.
I'm tired of my curvy models being called "Grotesque".
I'm tired of people complaining that my models are too old.
I'm tired of people criticizing me for using watermarks RATHER than criticizing the art thieves that make the watermarks necessary.
I'm tired of the religious fucktards who try to tell me that I'm going to hell because I don't feel shame over the female body.
I'm tired of entitled males telling me that I'M degrading women by not presenting women to THEIR ideals.
I'm tired of religious hypocrites who have galleries full of jesus and girls in extreme bondage telling ME that I'm going to hell because I paint milder things than they collect in their favorites folders.
I'm tired of delusional assholes who read nonexistent messages into the images I create and think I'm inviting them to write love poems to me.
I'm tired of people who think that a woman expressing her comfort with her sexuality is somehow WORSE than graphic scenes of murder, torture, and extreme violence.
I'm tired of idiots who think that corsets or bondage equal consent to exploitation and abuse.
I'm tired of people thinking that just because I create nude art, I'm obviously a whore who's looking to fuck any jackass who approaches.
I'm tired of not being able to post a photo without having horny fuckers crawl out of the woodwork.
I'm tired of being a talented person but when a male artist sees that I'm female? I'm frequently condescended to by being called "Sweetie" or "Honey" or "Beautiful" rather than being treated with the same respect and titles they give fellow male artists. The Rule of the Three F's: If she's not Fucking you, if she's not Family, and if she's not a close personal Friend- you NEVER refer to another person with a term of endearment. It's presumptuous, condescending, overly-familiar, and rude.
I'm really tired of fair weather friends and family who think it's perfectly acceptable to not speak to me for months until they want my work for free for their stupid little projects that they'll drop and not even care about in 24 hours but make ME jump through hoops to get there, or call me the badguy when I tell them I can't do it.
I'm tired of the idiots who hear what tools I use and say "So, if I had the same program and model- I could do the same thing you do?" Daz Studio
is an extremely similar program to the one I use. In a lot of ways it's easier- and it's FREE-- stop talking out of your ass and go see how easy it is to "do the same thing I do".
I'm tired of the elitist artists who say someone who works in digital or in 3D isn't an artist because the computer is doing all the work- yet they don't criticize photographers when "their cameras do all the work" or painters who don't make their own brushes/paints/canvas. Computers are just another tool. Stop trying to force everyone to live in your little box- not everyone has the same vision as you, not everyone uses the same tools as you- you're only limiting yourself and your own work by not utilizing everything possible. It doesn't matter how the image is created- what's important is the piece. No one criticizes Ansel Adams for not creating the mountain.. or George Hurrell for not making the props or birthing the models in his images.
I'm tired of my "worst point in my life" self portrait being repeatedly stolen and attached to christian agendas.
I'm tired of people who're fine with full on penetration- but put two lesbians or two gay men- only sitting together- in an image and NOW it's porn.
I'm tired of dudebros who think just because there are nude women in the image I'm obviously a guy.
I'm tired of people who're motivated enough to download and reupload my art- but can't waste the three clicks it would take to include a link back to the artist they claim to love so much.
I am tired of finding my art posted elsewhere after it has been modified by talentless hacks and turned into sparkle gifs and really crappy wallpapers.
I'm tired of being the badguy for asking for my work to be taken down after some fuckwit has stolen and modified despite every attempt I can make to warn them that I protect my work.
I'm tired of being attacked because of OTHER PEOPLE'S sexual, religious, physical, and emotional insecurities.
I'm tired of people stealing my work and actually managing to find avenues to successfully sell it- when no one will buy it directly from me.
I'm tired of entitled assholes who think it's acceptable to tell another human being how they should think and express their own personal outlets and hobbies.
I have a saying "Opinions are like assholes. I'm not a proctologist, and you're not paying me to care about yours." Because seriously, no one is paying me for the right to force me to have to consider their opinions about MY PERSONAL WORK. I wouldn't care if I was getting paid for my work- then it wouldn't be personal work- and I'd listen to the person paying me. I wouldn't care about what people said about the final product because it wasn't their say on how it was created and I had no personal investment in it.
I don't get paid for my work, so I'm ALSO not getting compensated for putting up with all the abuse that comes with it. I wouldn't give a shit if it was a job- this wouldn't be personal work, and I'd been paid for it, and could detach- but this is my personal work that I'm sharing for nothing. I gain NOTHING from sharing my work with the world, so I'm losing nothing but headaches by keeping it completely to myself.
So here's the deal:
Ghandi said "Nobody can hurt me without my permission"
In this instance- I have complete control over whether or not I allow this sort of thing to continue. I have been weathering this despite my better judgement since 1998 thinking it would get better or I would get used to it. I have not gotten used to the anxiety caused by random attacks. I have not gotten used to the let down when I find my work stolen and resold and have no recourse beyond filing a DMCA and watching the websites pop up about what a bitch I am for filing against them for STEALING my art. As I have said multiple times over the years, I was always happier when it was just for myself and I didn't have to deal with the derision/criticism/abuse of the random fucktards, so I think this most recent event is a perfect time to cast out the swine and close the gates for good.
That is it.
I'm letting dA lapse and putting everything in storage- and only keeping it for the future DMCA complaints that will invariably pop up (they always do).
I'm shutting down my Shadowness site.
I'll be letting my personal website lapse in a few months when it's time to renew.
I'm really tired of being fucked with my own work.
I don't make art for other people's enjoyment. I make it for myself.
I will continue to make art for myself- and fuck the rest of you reprehensible petty little animals.
Screw you guys- I'm goin' home.
To those who have been kind and supportive to me throughout, I appreciate it, deeply, endlessly, and I will remember you guys as the few bright lights, and cherish every word of kindness and encouragement you've ever given me. Seriously, it's the only time that "I" have ever had something that was only due to my work that anyone ever saw any value in, and I appreciate the praise, encouragement, acceptance, and kindness you've all showered me with..
To those of you who have gone out of their way to be trolls? if you spend your life making sure that shit rolls down hill? That shit keeps going. One day- you're going to be the small one again, and someone you've created is going to kick the ever loving hell out of you in grand and unforeseen ways. Go ahead and continue that cycle of abuse- it catches up with everyone sooner or later. When all you do is shit under the fruit tree- eventually you'll be eating nothing but shitty fruit.
I'm done with looking at or caring about ANYTHING regarding my personal work that comes from another human being. It's MY work. It's MY expression- no one has a right to have input into MY SELF EXPRESSION but me. I'm not going to log into this site again unless I need to pull something out of storage to prove copyright ownership for a DMCA complaint.
For those who think that an artist only exists so they can share their work with the great unwashed masses and that without an audience we crumble?
Artists CREATE. It's what we do. Nothing will ever stop that basic impulse. It doesn't matter if there's someone else to see it or not as long as WE are there to witness it. Nothing can stop me from making art for my own enjoyment and self expression. I have produced several pieces since this happened and will continue to do so- and they are totally tits- but you assholes? You've trolled yourselves out of the privilege of viewing my work.
Go fuck yourselves- vigorously.
P.S. This is to a broad audience for a variety of reasons: Fuck anyone who's stupid enough to think that "staying there and taking it" is an acceptable way for anyone to live -or a better life lesson and example to others than "refusing to live with abuse, standing up for yourself, and healing".
Background image by KassidiKeys
Brushes by deviney