It’s Fan Mail Friday (aka FMF) and Robert from Maui writes in and wrote: “I live in an area where Art is abundant and there is a huge market for Hawaiian themed works, The target market is tourism. I often get asked what is my website. I don’t have a website. I don’t want to get a website because I’m afraid that my work will be copied or knocked off. There are lots of artists here locally that have websites and will ship their art. I’ve been told by some other artists that if you have a website then the more likely you will get your work knocked off. What are your thoughts on this?”
Thank you Robert, I will tell you first and foremost that if you never plan to build your brand then you might be fine, however why would you want to restrict yourself from expanding your work and to get into as many homes as possible with your work. I think this is a great question because we are going to be having interviews with some artist friend of mine who have dealt with people copying their work. However I hate to be the one to tell you this in such a direct way but if people want to knock off your work they’re not going to check your website they’re going to buy your stuff and go from there.
I have a dear artist friend who has an extensive product line based on her whimsical and playful designs, she transforms these designs into products like clocks, mugs and other ceramics. She features her designs on her website and blog, and also has an online shopping cart, now that is not where the problem lies. She ended up with a customer who wanted to buy her products wholesale, little did she know that they copied her entire product line based off ordering her product. Now this is a very isolated case, they took close to 50 of her designs and decided to make an entire artsy line and based thankfully based on her network of artist friends and connections they were able to report back to her that this guy was at a show overseas.
The last I heard was that she was filing some sort of case against these copycats and I don’t have an update as of yet. The reason I’m telling you this is that you cannot create in fear of being copied, you’re going to inspire somebody at some point and somebody is always going to feel the desire to create based on your designs.
It’s always good to research all of your options and of course to copyright your work and there are many easy ways to do this. Is this disheartening, of course it is. It’s a major punch in the gut….
This has happened to me (not to this large of a scale) and I can tell you right now off the bat it has happened more than once and more than I care to elaborate on right now, and this used to really bug me a lot, but on the same note and has kept me on my game, for me, these experiences have field me to rise above it and keep creating more passionately and prolifically.
For Robert, should you get a website? Yes, I think you should. I believe you would gain some momentum in selling your pieces with the leverage of having a website. You want to give your collectors the gift of knowing about you and what drives you as an artist, after they’ve picked up a print or two, perhaps an original of your work that they’re going to place in their home, they want to tell others about you and yourart, and this could potentially drive others to your website to collect works that you have online. You don’t need an elaborate website, especially for starters, simply have some of your work, of course your biography and statement as an artist, how they can contact you, and you can build on that in time.
An art collector myself who collects a variety of different types of artwork and genres I find it a real treat when I can go and research and read more about that artist and what they’re all about, Whenever I encounter someone who doesn’t have a website or even a phone number that turns me off a little bit. Websites now are so affordable and so easy to create yourself, if you can’t do it yourself for whatever reason, ask a friend or even a collector of yours if they would help you.
The best people that are most passionate to help you with things with your business are people who collect your art and they’ll be more than willing and if someone has an area of expertise to develop a site for you then you could perhaps gift them with some of your art or do some sort of trade.
Thank you for reaching out and for asking this very valued question, I hope my viewpoints on this and expertise will help get you in the right direction. I also encourage you to subscribe to the podcast so that you can learn more about what other questions artist might have. We also have our website RockstarMentor.com as well as a Facebook page Facebook.com/RockstarMentor.
Please visit my website to sign up and be on the forefront of important information and free downloads that I have prepared.
To learn more about me, my art and colorful product line, visit Sonya Paz through my art website, SonyaPaz.com.
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Last but certainly not least… HUGE thanks to Andrew Paz of AMP Audio Lab for his amazing vocal skills on my intro and outro along with editing these Rockstar Mentor podcasts – you ROCK!!!