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Don’t be a copy cat, and other ways to help artists

August 9, 2017

Here are some very simple ways that anyone and everyone can help artists to thrive:

  1. Don’t upload or share artwork that isn’t yours. Sure, you might love a picture so you save it and share it on a board on Pinterest for others to love. But particularly if you haven’t taken the time to credit the artist or link to their sites, this does not help them, and in fact makes it really easy for shadier characters to find and steal their work. 
  2. Don’t buy products featuring uncredited art as these are much more likely to be using artwork without permission from the artist (stealing) than products which clearly credit a creator. Don’t share and promote these either if you’re not sure they’re legit.
  3. Contact an artist if you’re suspicious. Recognise an artwork on a product but strangely the artist isn’t credited? Think a product looks a bit wrong, or is being sold through an outlet you wouldn’t expect? If you can find contact details for the artist they will likely appreciate being alerted to the existence of a dodgy knock-off of their work. And if you’re unsure of their name, try using a reverse image search to find out.
  4. Buy works from artists. When you find the good stuff, please buy, share and promote!
  5. If you are in the position to commission works, make sure you pay fairly and credit the artists you use. Often artists are asked to produce work for free as a way to build their profile and portfolio. While it may be done with the best of intentions often these jobs do little to help an emerging artist. If you can, pay artists for their time, materials, skill and talent just as you would any other professional. Can’t afford to? Well maybe you can’t afford the work?
  6. Respect artists’ rights and copyrights, and encourage others to do the same. You could share this post.
  7. Encourage the big online platforms, and government policy makers, to protect the rights of artists. It is very hard for individual artists to protect their works from online theft. We are very small fish in an enormously online ocean, easily exploited by copyright thieves, and equally easily ignored by the online platforms that could do more to help. If social media and commercial sites were more responsive to reports of unlicensed works being sold and marketed via their platforms this would greatly improve matters for artists. Facebook, you have the power to help — please get onto it!

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m writing this because some work of mine has been hijacked online. The cats below are currently for sale on prints or phone covers via Facebook, and I am not credited and will not see a cent of the profits. It is nearly 24 hours since I reported the problem to Facebook, and I’m still waiting.

If you like these cats please promote the site where I sell them, which is here, RedBubble. And if you ever find my cats wandering the internet in places you wouldn’t expect, please, let me know. Huge thanks to the kind stranger who did just that yesterday.

This is not a copy cat.


Cats, cats, cats by Julia Marshall Felix, aka: me. Buy it here

Work in progress…

July 29, 2017

I’ve wanted to do a series of prints inspired by Melbourne for years.

coburg-in-progress

Still brewing, but they’re definitely happening.

Wonderful wanderings

July 26, 2017

Yesterday, as I strolled through the streets of Brunswick on my way to collect my son from daycare, it hit me that I am ridiculously lucky. 


Not just because I have a lovely family, a good job, a nice house and all of that stuff which is evidently extremely important and for which I’m also grateful…


But because I can walk, and I live in a very walkable, fascinating place, and because the simple act of walking and looking around brings me huge amounts of joy.

How lucky is that!?! Getting joy from walking!


Sometimes I slightly resent having an “artistic temperament”. I wonder if life would be easier if I didn’t feel compelled to create. But then I wouldn’t see the world as I see it. I wouldn’t find it so endlessly interesting and beautiful. So though I doubt I’ll ever earn much financially as an artist it is well worth it just to be able to see all the everyday beauty that is always around wherever you happen to be in the world.


Thanks to my muse Melbourne, hopefully more artworks will be created soon. But it is lovely to realise that even if that doesn’t happen I’m still lucky just to be able to see the wonder and vibrancy of the city around me.

Pawsley (cat paisley)

July 18, 2017

I really didn’t intend to do any artwork today. But this happened.

PawsleyBlue.png

Inspired by mid-century French design, particularly La Vache Qui Ri labels, textile patterns and cats.

If you like it, it is available on various products via RedBubble.

How to be productive

June 27, 2017

Today I’ve spent much of my precious child-free day making a toy oven out of cardboard for my son. It was an unexpectedly messy and time-consuming project, and the end result is mediocre. I’m battling to not feel guilty because I’ve been so unproductive.

image

A cardboard toy oven, made with love from recycled cardboard boxes. Improving it will be a project my son and I can enjoy together.

I feel the pressure of a lifetime of implicit messages about the need to achieve. Make money. Be successful. Do things. Make things. Produce. Perhaps all amplified by my need as an “artist” to prove myself somehow. And because I have lots of ideas but not a lot of energy, I can’t possibly do all the things I can imagine doing successfully. Which makes me feel like a failure.

But when I think about what I really care about, and what I really think the world needs, this urge to be productive seems unhelpful. Our world is plagued with too much stuff already.

In a world with a massive over-consumption problem the focus on productivity seems counter-productive.

What to do?

What I want to do, what I think might maybe help, is to slow down a little and change my focus. I want to look at how I can contribute. What do I have to give to the world? What can I share? What is actually needed and useful? I want to jump off the productivity treadmill, stop worrying about pointless measures of “success”. I want to break away from needing to prove myself. Enough about me already! I want to focus on family, friends, society, the world.

I want to get on with being a helpful and creative human-being. I want to contribute in whatever ways I can to building a better society. This might be through art, or through working at a library, or being a good Mum or friend. I’m really not too sure. I am sure that breaking away from the culture of over-producing and over-consuming is a productive step.

Vicariously living Danishly

June 25, 2017

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. We’re in a dark’an’orrible place right now. And personally my solution is books, sweet books.

Like this one: Helen Russell’s The Year of Living Danishly. 

Like the finest Danish pastry, this book is light, enjoyable and morish. But it isn’t empty fluff. This is quality stuff. 

Reflective, philosophical, socially and politically relevant. Entertaining, engaging and inspiring. This book hits the rare sweet spot: fun and funny while being relevant and insightful. This is  the kind of gently uplifting nourishment a lot of us need at the moment.

And as an added bonus for us AFOLs, the book also features the odd insight into what it is like to work for Lego. It sounds pretty wonderful. So Lego, if you’re ever looking for someone to help develop a new line of gender-neutral town and train based sets, I’ve got a lifetime of Lego building experience, an eye for design and Lego-bucketloads of creativity, and I think my little family could build a very happy life in Denmark.

Painting without a plan

May 4, 2017

Today I decided to paint.Not with a plan or a goal, but just for the love of painting. I wanted to do something fast, loose and spontaneous. I wanted to embrace the idea that there are no mistakes in art, just infinite possibilities.

I call the result “Essence of a Tabby Cat”.


I rather like it upside-down.