There was an incident on Friday, an I’d be a liar if I said I was exactly sure how to respond, so you get a flow-of-consciousness ramble. Long story short, an individual posted a picture of a model I painted four years ago, claiming it as his own recent work and using it to try to drum up business for his commission painting service. When confronted he denied it, to the point of calling me a feminine hygiene product at one point.
Now, I want to be absolutely clear on a couple of points here:
- I’m not generally alarmed when one of my paintjobs turns up somewhere – I’ve sold off a number of armies in the past, and they’ve ended up all over North America.
- I’m not a pro painter, I’ve never claimed to be. I paint to a standard that I’m personally comfortable with. It won’t win awards, but I’m often pleased with the models I produce.
- I have no problem with commission painters – I’ve used them, I’ve been one. The work isn’t easy, and the pay rarely reflects what actually goes into the end results; those who can do it have my respect.
- I have no problem with somebody imitating one of my colour schemes or painting style. It’s quite flattering, even though it boggles my mind a little when someone does, and I enjoy seeing how other artists spin the scheme.
What I do have a problem with, is someone misrepresenting my work as their own. It’s a point of personal pride, and to find someone doing so to try to deceive people into using their services? Last I checked that was fraud, misrepresentation and/or false advertising.
The individual in question deleted the discussion thread on which he was confronted, but being that this is the internet, it’s never a guarantee that such things are lost to the void. For a start, I’m an admin on the Facebook group where it took place, and I’ve also been helping a co-worker deal with chasing down someone who stole their son’s iPod and tried to sell it on Kijiji, so the idea of taking screenshots isn’t alien to me.
Allow me to present the evidence…
This is a photo of Hugh the Fell Caller, whom I painted for the 2009 Breast Cancer Brawl at The Hobby Kingdom in Burlington Ontario. He was actually the very first troll I painted in this colour scheme, and I was pleased with the end results, not the least because the eyes were done using the liquid gold that is Chestnut Ink.
Note that I’ve circled a number of spots. The Dark Green, Light Green, Orange and Purple circles highlight my wonderfully mediocre drybrushing. The Pink and Blue circles highlight how much attention I paid to cleaning the model of divots and burrs. I have few pics of my Trollbloods showing basing and arc markings, but I’ve included the inset pic of my Earthborn to show how it was done – a mix of railway flock and ballast,with a solid pink rear arc.
Now, here is the picture posted on Friday morning on the Facebook group. I’ve cropped off the sides, but otherwise (other than the circles) the picture is unaltered.
My picture was taken using indirect natural sunlight, whereas this picture was taken using a backdrop and artificial lighting. I should also note that judging by the painter’s portfolio, his camera isn’t of the best quality, which could further explain how washed out the colours are in comparison to my photo.
Thick drybrushing lines in the dark green and orange circles. A light “v” in the purple circle. Same divot on the hilt, same burr on the quitari, even the same basing. I’m sure over the years as the model has passed from owner to owner there’s been some minor repairs, but unless I’m grossly mistaken – and if I am I’ll offer a full apology – we’re looking at the same model here.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see that no-one’s stripped the model over the last four-five years, that the original paintjob has stuck around.
On the other hand, “Recent commission, level 1 dipped quality.”
Hell, that’s just plain insulting, and there’s no way in hell that model was dipped. There are three different wash colours used, and a near-impossible-to-obtain ink.
Here’s how it played out on Facebook. Faces and names of other parties obscured for privacy reasons. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
He posts a picture of the model, claims it’s his own baseline work for a recent commission, and advertises his service.
He expresses that his basing is different than mine, despite my not posting a pic of how I based my trolls. The customer “must have wanted it like that”, and gave him “specs”. Note no reference to having the original model or a picture thereof to work off. Offers to take a picture of the model in his hand, with tattoos to confirm, though does not do so, nor was there any question as to who had possession of the model, so this would prove nothing.
I already stated what the model was painted for. On the one hand call me a feminine hygiene product, on the other try to flatter me by complimenting ‘my’ paintjob.
Now let’s insult the paintjob that we just praised. What the heck’s GW got to do with anything? We’re not talking about who “owns” the paint scheme here.
Let’s get one more dig in on how ‘basic’ the original paintjob was, and how I’m clearly a nutjob for even caring…
The discussion thread was then deleted while I was on my lunch break. I came back to the office to see his response, and the evidence had been removed. An hour or so later the picture was also removed from his painting service’s Instagram account.
If I’m not going to publicly reveal the fraudulent painter, what’s the point of posting all of this? I guess as both a lesson and a warning to those who post pictures of their models online, who sell their models, or who might be tempted to take a shortcut and claim someone else’s work as their own for whatever benefit.
This is the information age, and people are watching. People see what you do, see what you put online. People know other people, and if you try something hinky like this, there’s a very real chance it’ll come around to bite you in the proverbial. When you claim someone else’s work you’re misrepresenting yourself – which doesn’t do you any favors – and you’re slapping the original artist in the face at the same time. Do it on a public forum and directly attach the name of your business to it, and you risk sinking your business into the ground when people realize just how shady you are capable of behaving. Word of mouth can kill small businesses. You never know whose work you’re claiming. It might be some isolated schmuck who never goes online, or it might just be a schmuck whose work is reasonably well known in certain circles, who keeps a public record of said works, and who has a public channel to use as a soapbox.
So why did I title the post as sad? I’ve been through his portfolio. I’ve looked at the works in progress and final models he’s posted online, and to tell the truth he’s a halfway decent painter, certainly capable of producing better results than I painted on Hugh the Fell Caller. Why the smeg he felt the need to do all this is, frankly, beyond me, and now if anyone comes up to me and asks what I think of this artist, his painting service, or even his online store, I’m going to have to be honest and tell them the whole sordid story.
Be honest in your dealings, lest your sordid misdeeds be laid bare.