Friday, 27 March 2015

Face Paint Photo Theft


When people steal other peoples artwork. This happens to me as an artist from time to time with my work, has happened to Aryn's artwork and also to my artist friends. My good friend Ashley has someone steal one of her sketches and post it on their own page as 'just something I'm working on.'
Aryn had a drawing of his stolen and we only found out when we found a youtube video using the image that gave credit to the thief for the art work!

It's not only theft it's also dishonesty at it's finest. Sadly people don't want to practice and work hard at their craft so they can actually EARN that praise and the admiration that those of us who did work hard get. It's much easier for them to steal others art and hard work and call it their own.

No don't misunderstand me, I'm not talking about copyright exactly, artists can totally paint spider-man, and Captain America, so long as they follow the rules about copy right.


And I'm not even talking about copying another artists design or drawing inspiration from it. In face painting at least we copy each other ALL the time, and there are some times only so many ways you can do a princess face using teardrop strokes lol.

One face paint artist I know had another face painter get mad at her for having this image on her business card, saying she was copying her designs.


"OMG! Like, stop copying me!"

No, I'm talking about face painters who take other peoples photos and post them either on their facebook page, website or other business associated site, or even in real life, like it was their own work. Weather or not the intention here was to mislead the public into thinking those photos are yours, or not, you are still misleading them by having them on your business's page or design boards. 

So I was looking up local face paint artists and doing so research when I found this woman who seemed to have popped up in October of 2014 offering face painting.

I first found her on craigslist she was offering face painting, for only $50 per hour (ouch the undercut, it stings), but her work was 'meh' (even so, good god woman charge more then that!) then I noticed one of her submitted photos was very unlike the others.
 
"Something is telling me these weren't painted by the same person but I just can't seem to put my finger on it."

Yet the girl was the same girl in the other photos. I figured that perhaps she just had her kid painted by another face painter took a photo and tried to pass it off as her own. Pretty low move to make, and it got me angry that she was misrepresenting her self to people.

I decided to check out her face book page.

While I was looking through her work when I saw photos I KNEW were not hers, and when you compare them to her work, you can tell it's not even the same product! (yes I can tell Glycerin Base paint fro Wax Base just by looking at it, most professional face painters can.)
I first noticed this when I saw some photos (of who I am assuming is her kid(s) at Disneyland)


Just is case you had any doubts the photos were are Disneyland, I call Goofy as a 'Character Witness.' 
Well that solved where that photo came from. Ok that's fine, so she took some pictures of her kids at Disneyland with their faces painted, not a bad thing, although I don't think you should be posting other artists work on your business page without at least labeling them as "My kid got her face painted at Disneyland' or something as not all the photos are 'Obvious Disneyland is Obvious' so the casual viewer of her gallery might mistake this for her work. But I think that's the point, because of her craigslist ad showing this picture in the gallery there.

But it didn't stop there, obviously she must have felt inspired as she attempted to copy the Angel Princess looking design.

Not a bad attempt. Keep practicing.
She also has photos where she tries to copy other artists designs, which isn't a bad thing, we've all done it I'm sure. But why not just post this in your craigslist ad? Instead she chose to post the other artists work,

Here is her trying to paint Lisa Joy Young's Blue Butterfly Fairy.
"Nailed it!"

 In fact the only reasons I'm pointing these out is to show her that she obviously is looking around the internet for design inspiration, and it really shows you where HER skill level is at, for reference.

Then I see these in her gallery....
Why would you paint a mouth on the monkey if the entire point is making your mouth the monkey's?

Now I know I've seen these designs before, they are totally a copy of the lip designs by body painter Paige Thompson


So, is she copying them too? Well she didn't paint them on herself, as she's a much larger and darker lady then the one in these photos. But whatever, lots of people have tried to copy these cute lip designs.



So, it's possible that she painted them on some one else... even though they appear to all be on the same person. Still, could be a friend who is modeling for, innocent until proven guilty. 

I keep scrolling through her photos and and that's when I start to get extreme Déjà vu, and not just for the designs, the photos themselves! These are photos I have seen during my own internet searches and pinterest binges. Like half her gallery doesn't even belong to her.


She chose not to credit the artists, so i thought it only fair  to credit her and her company name.

Heck some of them are even water-marked!
 
The spider-man there is from Mimicks
I even own both of Sherill's books on face painting lol.


 How am I so sure? Simple. I used Image Backtrace. It's a simple little program installed into my web browser that lets me right click and image and basically do a backwards internet image search on it. Using this I can find search results of everywhere that the image has been online, and even track down the ultimate source where it was first posted. Like with the big fat rainbow up there in the bottom left of the 2nd screenshot.

Finding the first source though is pretty tricky because if an image is really popular it can get shared a lot. On pinterest for example the results of a search will turn up every board it's ever been pinned on (which can be hundreds some times). Face painting photos get pinned a LOT, so it can be tricky to find where the photo comes from. But what pinterest does give you is dates, so if the photo's post date on pinterest predates the post date on the facebook page, then it means it didn't come from her facebook page. Also since she's only been posting since Oct 2014, and she's not that popular if the image gets a lot of hits with the image backtrace program, it's safe to say the image has been around longer then she has been face painting.


If an image turns up zero results, it's more then likely hers. Unless some one else painted on her kid at Disneyland that is.

Now, most professional established face painters have probably seen these photos before, so we know they are not hers, and for us it's easy to tell that there are some that are way above her current level of skill. I bet even some of the public can totally tell that these were not all done by the same artist. But the point is that it's wrong, misleading. The public shouldn't have to scrutinize some ones portfolio, and be all 'Sherlock Holmes' to figure out if certain work was done by them or not. What should be happening is that people shouldn't steal other peoples work! Plain and simple.



The deception doesn't stop there, in her craiglist ad she claims that her paints are "vegan based". No actually, they aren't. See in this photo she's clearly using snazaroo face paints (The wheel pallet and the blue pallet is snaz, and the other one is a Mehron pallet).

Yeah I can tell all that from this photo. Because I actually know about face painting products.

Snazaroo an oil base product called 'Lanolin' which in layman's terms is made from sheep wool grease. It has a product is comes from animals in in ,which means IT'S NOT VEGAN.

But don't take my word for it, check ouy what 
Snazaroo's own website says.

Snazaroo.comAre Snazaroo face paints suitable for Vegans or for Vegetarians?  
Some of our Snazaroo face paints contain lanolin, an animal-derived ingredient and as such, our products cannot be categorised as vegan/vegetarian. However, the glyceryl stearate in our face paints does not contain any animal ingredients and there are no other ingredients (other than lanolin) which are derived from animals in our face paints.
(Emphasis mine.)

Mehron Paradise Face Paint line is free of lanolin though their Starblends line has lanolin in it. I can't tell from this photo which she has (though it's probably the paradise line). Mehron is marketed as 
cruelty free. Also to note that most Wax based paints do not have lanolin in them.

Lanolin is is MANY things, lots of hand lotions, creams, and cosmetics, it's a pretty common thing, and isn't a bad thing. But by definition, it's certainly not vegan.

I don't get the feeling that she's intentionally misleading her clients like some kind of villain.

It's more likely she's just ignorant of what is in the face paints, and she thought tagging 'vegan' into her adverts would net her a wider audience, and pick up some of the 'new age' people in the city.

But dude, that's still not cool. You gotta know your products! There are people out there who are allergic to wool products. It's dangerous to mislead the public and your potential clients about what is actually in the products you use on them, not to mention this being bad for your business, which already isn't off to a good start.


Think I'm being a bit harsh? Good. I despise liars, and thieves, and I have zero problem outing them for the world to see. There is nothing much I can do about the Disney face paint photos being used since they are on her own kids and photos were taken by (or for) her. However I will be writing her a letter, asking her to remove the stolen photos from her page, criagslist ads, and either remove or clearly label the Disney face painting. If she doesn't, I'm going to track down and alert what owners I can find about their artwork being stolen and used this way.

Now, take a look at some of her other stuff and it's clear not all of her work is bad, some of is pretty good, credit where credits due.


so I don't even see why she feels she needs to steel other artists work. She'll get better with more practice and as she discovers better products and starts making her own designs and stops relying on merely copying others.


I get it, building a portfolio of your work takes time... lots of time. All of us pro face painters spent years getting to where we are now, and it's pretty unfair to us who actually worked to get where we are. Besides this woman has kids!! Two of them! You got your canvas living in the same house as you. I don't have any kids, I was always borrowing my friends kids to get photos, and still am! lol

Really she's probably just using the images to make people think she's better then she actually is, and not have to take a long time to build a portfolio. What ever the reasons might be that doesn't change the fact that it's completely unethical to use other peoples work in your own portfolio.

Soooooooo


-----

Addendum:


On another note, there did happen to be a 1 star review on her face book page that read


Interesting. Now the owner of the face paint company responded saying this person was being verbally abusive to her or something and basically saying that she's not going to paint at an event with another face painter. That might be, but canceling less then 2 days before an event isn't very professional.

I don't blame her for not wanting to go to an event and have another face paint artist there, I don't like it either. Everyone wants exclusivity. But she should have stated that from the beginning, and she should have had a contract that says exactly what her terms for face painting are instead of leaving the client to guess. This was 'her bad' and the client had to pay for it.

If I was put in the same spot and my exclusivity terms weren't in my contract or for some reason I chose not to use my contract, I still would have gone to the gig. The client shouldn't have to pay for my lack of foresight,

If it's a 'pay per face' gig obviously I don't want another artist cutting in on my profits and such, and if I'm being paid to attend I don't want another company handing out business cards, and clients thinking they painted the fabulous face they just saw walking around and thus taking credit for my work. Even more so, I don't want some one to think I painted something of theirs if they do bad work!

Some times it just happens that there are other face painters at the same event. This happened last Canada Day, so I just handed out pre-made stickers for the kids to wear with my info on them. Another time it happened at a school fete when the client double booked two face painters. It was in my contract that i was to be the only one, and it was in the other painters contract too! lol But were were both being paid to be there, so we chose to set up next to each other, and she was really quite good, and we became friends. You just gotta roll with it and be easy to work with.

I know I'm good at what I do, so i don't worry so much about stuff like this. Though I would imagine, if I stole other artists work, and couldn't really paint as well as my portfolio would suggest, I wouldn't want to have anyone for the public to compare my work, speed, table hygiene and setup to, lest I look like I'm new at this and obviously still need more practice. *wink*

----------------------

RESPONSE TO MY LETTER:

First here is my letter to her
Hello,
My name is Ilea, and I am a professional face painter. I recently stumbled upon your facebook page, (and after googing, also your craigslist ads).
I felt the need to write to you because I find your practice of stealing other face painters work deeply unethical.
There are 17 or more photos in your gallery that do not belong to you or have not been painted by you. Example: The spider-man in your facebook portfolio belongs to Sherill Church of Mimicks Face Painting (I own both her books).
I also saw that you are advertising these photos in your craigslist ads as your own. The rainbow in your add and in your facebook portfolio belong to the company Vikkitties Amusements.
I also noticed that you took your family to Disneyland last year, and that your children had their faces painted. Why are those photos in your business portfolio along with your work? A casual observer might think that was your work, and be mislead. Or why are they not labeled as having been done by someone else, so as not to mislead the public? I also noticed you are using one of these photos in your criagslist ad, passing it off as your own work.
I'm sorry but I feel this is very dishonest and unethical.
Before contacting the artists you have stolen work from, I thought I would write you and give you the opportunity to remove the photos from your ads and facebook portfolio.
I know it's hard starting out and building a portfolio of your own, and it takes a long time. But you have two lovely children who can help you out with that.  I have seen some of your more recent paintings and you are showing improvement. I also see that you tried your hand at Lisa Joy Young's Blue Butterfly fairy. She's great isn't she! So you are on the right track, watching videos and such, and you'll only get better.
But, I'm sure you know in your heart that stealing other artists work is wrong. I hope you make the right decision and remove the photos that don't belong to you.
All the best in your face paint journey.
-Ilea
P.S. Saw in your craigslist ad that you said your paints are 'Vegan'. I saw in your photos that you are using Snazaroo and Paradise by Mehron. While the Paradise line does not contain any animal by-products, their StarBlends line contains a product called 'Lanolin' which is made from the grease from sheep's wool. I can't tell which line of cosmetics you are using in the photo, but i would guess it's Paradise. All Snazaroo paints contain Lanolin, so they aren't vegan at all by definition.
I know you are new but it's VERY important to know your products inside and out. There are some people who are allergic to wool products and might have a reaction to your paints, so it's very dangerous to mislead the public about what they are made from if you don't actually know.
I felt I was being very kind a professional, I even read it to my roommates, because i didn't want to come off as rude at all or too harsh. They told me it seemed professional so I sent it. A week later I get this back.
Thank you for the message. I do appreciate you writing to me although  I don't feel I steal others work or portray them to be my own as I do not say anywhere in my page that the pictures are from my own portfolio.  
When I started up I was using them as examples for the kids to choose from and it was a business I only did with close family and friends. Now as I get busier with general public, I have much more experience but rarely get to take pictures of my work as the time I'm at the parties goes by way too quickly to worry about photos - as I'm sure you know. It was never my intention to "steal" work and I honestly think you have too much time on your hands to be worrying about this and writing me in paragraphs what you feel is right from wrong.  I work a full time job, am a full time mom of two little ones and do facepainting on the side because I enjoy it.  
Today as I was walking through Stanley park I met a woman with a disabled daughter and I gave her a free 1 hour party because I wanted to make her smile. I am a good person and don't need people like yourself to bring me down and try to bully me or threaten me. 
I have deleted the rainbow photo from craigslist and have added notes to all photos that are not my own on my page. Yes I took my family to Disneyland and used photos from my trip,  but again, I use these as samples for the kids to choose from and you don't have any right to say I cannot use them. Please feel free to report me as I don't think I am doing anything wrong.  My sister is a professional make up artist who went to school for years and recommended I buy certain products. In my early days I used Snazaroo as a cheaper option and currently only use Mehron for kids with sensitive skin. This is also not misleading as I check in advance if there are kids with allergies, sensitive skin etc as my two CHILDREN have allergies and I am sensitive to this.  Please don't assume you know which products on which children - or that I would be ignorant to the fact of which products are vegan based. I am a vegan and know more than you have assumed.
All the best
Wow... um ok. She took that pretty personally. Let's break it down.

"I don't feel I steal others work or portray them to be my own as I do not say anywhere in my page that the pictures are from my own portfolio. "
That's the most childish thing to say ever. "well uh, i never 'said' it was mine". WTF? Doesn't matter! You implied it!!! It also doesn't matter what you feel, fact is you STOLE others work. Period.

"When I started up I was using them as examples for the kids to choose from and it was a business I only did with close family and friends"
I call bullshit. Why not save them to your phone? Or to a pinterest page? You like using bandwidth while at a party, and trying to navigate facebook's mobile app? LOL what a time vampire. If you want photos for inspiration, save them to your phone not your business gallery!! lol

 "rarely get to take pictures of my work as the time I'm at the parties goes by way too quickly to worry about photos - as I'm sure you know."
Yeah I do know, I introduced my self as a face painter remember? Yet strangely I have hundreds if not thousands of photos i have taken of my work at events and parties. This is no excuse!

" It was never my intention to "steal" work"
I am starting to realize dumb people think photos found on google are 'free for the taking' lol. Doesn't mater what you intention is, it matters what you do! Try that line with police next time "oh officer it's wasn't my intention to run that red light while speeding." see if it gets you out of the ticket.

"I honestly think you have too much time on your hands to be worrying about this and writing me in paragraphs what you feel is right from wrong."
I speak up because I have had my work stolen many times, and when i see it happen, I say something. I stand up for what I feel is right, and don't see it as a waste of time.

"I work a full time job, am a full time mom of two little ones and do facepainting on the side because I enjoy it."
And this gives you the right to steal.... because????

"I gave her a free 1 hour party because I wanted to make her smile. "
Good for you, but that's irrelevant! Doing a nice deed doesn't cancel out or give you the right to STEAL other peoples art!

"don't need people like yourself to bring me down and try to bully me or threaten me."
She should see me when i'm not being polite lol.

I'm not trying to bully, or even threaten - because it's not a threat, I will track down each and every artist she stole photos from and write them a letter about her actions if she choose's to do nothing.

"I have deleted the rainbow photo from craigslist and have added notes to all photos that are not my own on my page. "
Whoopee... one photo, on one add was deleted, yet it's still in the gallery along with all the others. I checked and she only put notes on less then half! But that's not enough, people don't click on each photo to read the comments, most just glance through the gallery. This is misrepresentation!

"Yes I took my family to Disneyland and used photos from my trip,  but again, I use these as samples for the kids to choose from and you don't have any right to say I cannot use them. "
Let me put this into perceptive. If you took your daughter to my face painting table, got her face painted by me, took and photo then used it on your face painting website, face painting advertisements, or face book gallery for your own face painting business page- that would be wrong, and it would be art theft. Also I would probably be p!issed.



So how is it different that it was work done by a disneyland artist? I actually happen to know some disneyland face paint artists on social networking sites, who have and are currently still working for disneyland.

"I don't think I am doing anything wrong."
What you think is irrelevant! Stop stealing other people's sh!t!!!!!

"My sister is a professional make up artist who went to school for years and recommended I buy certain products."
Very nice, I'm also a professional makeup artist for Special FX makeup for film, and have an IMDB page with credits, and have over 15 years experience in face and body paint alone. This is how i know the ingredients from memory.
Note: Quoting some one else as a expert, does not make you an expert.

" In my early days I used Snazaroo as a cheaper option and currently only use Mehron"
Ahh yes the early days. You mean like last week?

Those are 2 Snaz pallets on the table. This woman reeeeeeally sucks at lying.
Also i never said Snaz was bad, i said they weren't vegan. Big difference.

"Please don't assume you know which products on which children"
I think what she meant to say was "Please don't assume you know which products I use on which children", ok so she uses mehron of sensitive skin? What? Snaz are still fine, i just said they have lanolin in them, therefore not vegan, and the odd person who has an allergy to wool might have a reaction. But Mehron you are MORE likely to have a reaction (still a small chance tho) because they put in fragrances in their paints, which MORE people are allergic to. Fact: This lady has no idea what she's talking about.

" or that I would be ignorant to the fact of which products are vegan based. I am a vegan and know more than you have assumed."
Dude You advertised your paints as being vegan based, and I Quote: "All products are hypo allergenic, FDA Approved, and Vegan Based." More then half of ALL your products are NOT vegan.

Stop lying, you REALLY suck at it.

No comments:

Post a Comment