I will get allot of heat,and hate mail and people angry with this post,but all I have to say is please pick a number and get your ass in the line,it starts wayyyy back there.As usual anybody that gets pissed off at my vitriolic ranting,are usually pissed off because they feel guilty in the back of their minds.
One thing you can bet on if you really believe in what you are doing and work hard to get it out there,is that some dip shit will come along and copy it.
You are not guaranteed fame,success or money but if you work means allot to you and you put your heart into it,the dip shits will come.
One thing a non-creative type doesn’t understand is that it’s actually hurtful to have this happen to you.And it’s one of those type of things that is a very pin pointed type of hurtful.
I made my first doll in 1996 when I was 16 years old and started doing it professionally at 19 and started a website a bit before I was 19 for my artwork.
Since then the dipshits have come,and at times they come in droves.I’m not the only doll maker with this problem.They are much to ladylike to say it but Kerry Kate and Beth Roberson also get their work pillaged and copied all to hell.And it’s sad they are both unique and talented ladies,who would never ever do that to somebody else.
I know when I start these rants I sound like Little Richard saying he invited Rock and Roll but he kind of did,and mind you I DO share a birthday with Little Richard.
Kerry Kate started doing those very cool stump type dolls she painted up all retro.
Beth does wonderful strange,unusual dolls of things like dolls with distorted faces or with Raven’s heads.
Kerry Kate and I started doing allot of conjoined twins dolls around the same time.
I started making Memento Mori dolls or Sleeping Beauties of deceased children a few years back and also started making child mummies *because of some reoccurring dreams that just haunted and hounded me”
Even some of the terms we have all started have been copied,Beth calls her dolls Strange Dolls now others are adding the words strange dolls into the title of their websites and work.I coined the phrase Morbid Fine Art Dolls,that has also been picked up by other people.Kerry Kates’s phrasing ect about her work is also pillaged,even the way she displays her dolls on her site is “borrowed” from.
Now having said that I want you to go on every pseudo spooky doll makers website and you will find copies of all above items.
What is the most hurtful about people copying my work is it’s very much from the heart and from the other side so to speak.
I never paid that much mind to dolls and never thought I’d grow up to be a doll maker.It found me and it’s my vocation in life.It’s tied with my emotions,my spirituality and my whole life.The art and the dolls come first,mainly because they are so tied to my spirituality in a way.I guess in some aspects voodoo highly reveres things like effigies that it’s hard for it not to be connected.
Lets take the fact that I do allot of dolls of deceased,aborted or abused children.Like I said before hand I started making dolls at 16 on a whim and got stuck in it like quicksand.I started doing it just see if could construct one and I *like most surrealist* have always been a vivid dreamer,and also used dreams as a way to communicate with those who have passed over,again as a part of my spiritual practice and beliefs which is Voodoo.Once I started making dolls I found out that I could get the images out of my head by making them into art or dolls.
After I got into the groove of doing that,I started to dream and see things that were messages that the other side wanted to come across to this side.
Again dolls and art were a perfect medium for that.The things that bothered me the most and was the most heart retching were the dreams communications of the spirits of children who had passed on,especially those who were killed.
I’d have dreams where they were at times in a mummy like state and they would run up to me to pick them up,and I’d tie my heart in the dreams and do it.I can still feel the feeling of their dried skin,how they left so light and weightless.Or waking up with something almost whispering in your ear to make dolls that are a representation of a aborted child.And you think God NO I will get so much flack for that,I really don’t want to do THAT!
I actually used to be pro-choice before all of this.Now I am not anymore.Before I go any further in this post I want to say I am talking about how meaningful my art is to me.NOT taking part in a pro and cons of abortion debate,and mention or argument about my or your thoughts on abortion will just be ignored.
Anyway as the years progressed and I started getting closer to some of the Loa and Orisha spiritually and closer to the spirits of the dead the more the ideas/dreams kept coming.Again these are extremely realistic dreams,where I’d see things about death that I had no clue about,and after I started researching death,forensics and decomposition I figured out I was actually correct in my work.
As I go further and further into my art not only do I deal with the dream imagery but I also expose myself to work research,in exposing myself to death in reality by researching imagery and trying to help the dying and the dead in this world.
When going to funerals I always pat the hand of the deceased and give them a kiss because in some way to me it brings both worlds together.The spiritual world I only see in dreams and the actual reality of death which we shouldn’t fear.
Some people are so scared of a dead body they won’t go near the deceased,which I think is sad in a way,what if the deceased is watching the scene at the funeral and you are treating their discarded shell/body like it’s got the plague or something.
I also when every I can will offer myself in service to the dying,no matter if it requires me to feed them,give them finical help,change bandages or stay with them and pray or sit with them while they are dying.
Being a child of Obatala and The Baron it’s my call to help the dead and dying.Even if my way of helping is giving their tragic story a physical manifestation.
If people view my work of say dead babies and they get upset it makes them sad GOOD!That is what it’s supposed to do,it’s supposed to show the sorrow and hurt of losing a loved one or the pure horror of what a murdered child looks like.Maybe if people are faced with it, they will get off their asses and DO something about it.I have seen the images and I know how they stick with me and make me want to do everything in my power to never see something like that again.I don’t want to even see the things I have to make,nobody wants to be exposed to imagery unless it’s a necessary part of their life.
I’m not overtly enthused about growing up to be some weirdo,preachy doll maker with one foot on the other side and one foot dangling in this realm.
So long story short that is where I’m coming from.
Now you will NEVER ever find any of the copycats doing work they say outright that it’s about/against child abuse or is a glaring representation of abortion,because they would require them to bite the bullet so to speak and they are not going to do that.They live in a lady where imagery of deceased children are something only seen in a horror movie,or gory imagery is done for shock value or as a horror prop,or things are done to be all cutesy and spooky.Not something done to preach at people.Which I know I do come off as preachy and as a jerk but I will own up to it and if the shoe fits I’m glad to dance on your head with it.

~ by Ugly Shyla on September 29, 2009.

9 Responses to “Copycats.”

  1. get over it

  2. These themes and this genre has been around for years and years as is apparent in film, literature and art. Art Dolls have only recently been recognized as an art form, since around the early 80’s. It would only follow that artists would incorporate this genre to express themselves through art dolls.

    I just don’t see how one or two people can lay claim to fame to an entire genre of art.

  3. Not that you don’t already know this, but pretty much all of the greatest painters have “borrowed” signature styles from one another. They purposefully mimicked one another just to show they could “do it better” than the other. That being said, there is nothing really original in art – it’s just different ways of doing the same thing. Some people will be stronger in aspects of it and obviously excel, touching hearts and minds. This is very true of Beth Roberson (loved her work for a few years now), as well as so many others. This will always be something that happens in the art world, as well as in any other sector. It’s how we push forward into other things. The sad facsimiles will always be just that: sad facsimiles. If your work shines, it shines. Period.

  4. May I ask, then, is every doll artist who deals with themes of death copying you? Mortality is a prevalent theme in art, naturally since it happens to all of us. It would be strange if doll artists did not deal with it. Or have I misunderstood you?

    At any rate, I agree that the problem of plagiarism is vexing. Perhaps it is more common in this medium since it is not yet perceived as art as much as painting. Not that it isn’t art, just that the perception is different.

  5. You share a birthday with Little Richard? Say no more!

  6. i love beth roberson’s dolls. but i would never copy her work, because no matter how i tried it wouldn’t be the same. be orginal folks! what comes from your own heart will be recognised as genuine.

  7. This makes me totally angry. But not at you. You are right though, people are gonna be pissed.

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