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Copycat Culture.

Yesterday I saw an instagram post that didn't sit right with me.

Cat Illustration
Spot the original.

It was from an account that had a whole bunch of digital renderings in a trendy color palette and it had lots of followers.

One illustration in particular caught my eye. It was a beautiful image that I instantly recognized from a postcard I'd received last year as a promo from Glossier. In fact the image is so beautifully styled, I keep it pinned to my bulletin board.

Inclusive photo of women's hands

Problem was, there was no mention or tagging of the company, no props to the photographer, and while the piece was receiving all sorts of praise in the comments, no credit was given to the original creators at all. I'm not really one to start things with strangers, but this just didn't seem ok. So I took to my Advice 4 Artists community (love this creative's safe space so much) and got plenty of good advice, luckily a lot of it being the same: go to Glossier. Let them raise the issue, if it actually is an issue.

See I definitely don't have all the facts or backstory. and I would never want to accuse someone of something that they weren't actually guilty of. It happened to me once a couple years ago on instagram. Someone publicly called me out for copying an artist...when the fact of the matter was, I 100% had not done it. I was publicly embarrassed for nothing and had to try my best to defend myself and my original work because that person and those people didn't have the facts (link to the drama if you're curious lol).

That is not to say that copycatting doesn't happen way too often these days. I'm not sure if it's naivety or if people really think they can get away with it. Especially if they decide to try to make money off of other people's hard work. This recently happened to my friend and colleague Tyler Elise. A company not only decided to outright steal her work, but proceeded to make money off it -- that is, before they were caught by Tyler herself and asked to give any profits to charitable causes.

Has this ever happened to you? Do any of you feel like this is an inevitable part of being an artist/designer trying to make a name for yourself on the internet? Kinda feels like it, even though it shouldn't be this way.

As for the image I saw yesterday, Glossier did get back to me and let me know they'd share it with their team. We'll see if anything comes of it.

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