07 January 2009

Light in the Darkness

"Your talent is God's gift to you;
what you do with it is your gift to God."
~Leo Buscaglia

You were blessed with a talent. You worked hard to get where you are today. You studied and saved. You learned and you prayed. You took those parts of you that make your heart sing and you turned that passion into the art of your life. You found success. You reached a wider audience. You grew. You inspired others by your zest for life and your love of all things beautiful.

And then the ugliness strikes.

My dear friend, Miss Vanessa at http://afancifultwist.typepad.com, is mad. And I don't blame her. You see, Miss Vanessa is a true talent who lives and eats and breathes her art. It is all around her, it lives through her, and we are fortunate that she shares it with the world. She writes of the most fantastical journeys through her blog A Fanciful Twist, a place that I go to visit each day for hope and inspiration. She sells her amazing artwork through Etsy. I know. I am the owner of her beautiful prints. She is the kindest and sweetest soul.

Recently she learned of an ugliness that runs rampant through the internet by stealing images of others' art and passing them off as their own. This darkness is a site called Polyvore. And they are encouraging the ripping off of artist's work without giving credit where credit is due, even congratulating each other when the heist has occurred. This is no different than if they came into Miss Vanessa's living room and took the painting right off her wall. It is wrong and it has to stop. Now Polyvore may have set their technology up to do good, to encourage sharing of links to art and images, and truthfully there are some that work that way. But that is not what is happening and it is affecting more than just my one friend. This technology has been used for nefarious purposes and that is the darkness that we need to drive out.

I know. I was aghast when she told me and sent me links to the offending representations. Perhaps I am just a bit too naive to think that there would be people out there who would think that they have the right to do that. And if I have ever seen such things, I was naive enough not to question it myself. I am so glad that she told me about this foolishness and that she took my advice to make it public and stand up to it. You should read her post about it here: http://afancifultwist.typepad.com/a_fanciful_twist/2009/01/i-rarely-get-upset-but-when-i-do.html

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I encouraged her to take this negative and make it a positive. To turn that anger and that helplessness into power and strength. And by making it public and encouraging others to do the same, we can fight this. Together.

Whether you are an artist who willingly puts your hard-wrought art out on the web for the world to admire, or if you are just one who appreciates how art saves lives, you should know about these terrible things. I admit that I may have seen such things and not realized where the images were taken from, but I will be much more aware now. And by sharing this experience with as many as we can, perhaps we can put an end to this rampant and blatant trafficking of illegally possessed images, but more importantly to the negative spirit that would allow someone to do that.

The internet is a wonderful place. I always thought that this blog would be solely for me, but I have been pleasantly surprised that there are people in the world who feel my comments speak to their souls. Only one of my followers is someone I know personally. That is amazing!

I have recently become acquainted with a follower of my blog who lives on the other side of the world. How thrilling it is to know that my posts and my words inspire him where he lives. With this technology, the world has the potential to become a much smaller community where everyone cares for how their words and thoughts and actions make a difference. And so, in light of Miss Vanessa’s dilemma, perhaps we can all stand to be on community watch and help to safeguard all our new friends, whether they are in London, England or New London, Wisconsin.

I won’t stop believing in the basic good of people. Thank you for being my light in the darkness.
Just knowing that I have friends in all the corners of the world watching out for my happiness and success is really inspiring to me.

Know that I am watching out for you, too.

Check It Out:: http://artandghosts.typepad.com/

Now…seriously…Enjoy the day!


beckiwithani said...

So unfair! I hope justice will be done in this case. The Internet makes things like this way, way too easy.

On another note:
Erin, I'm sorry I haven't written you a Thank-You card yet. The necklace is gorgeous, and how could you have known that the quote was perfect for me? I studied abroad in both Russia and England when I was an undergrad, and I did a 5-week fieldwork project on a little island of Australia as a grad student. One of my big goals in life is to be able to do more of these extended (1 month or more) trips in the future.

Your gift was so original, beautiful, and thoughtful that it got me choked up. Thank you.


Tracy said...

Thank you, Erin, for your kind comment! Hope you get the book soon & are able to join in with the book study. :)

Stacey said...

Hello!! SO nice to meet you! I too am so excited to be part of this book group- it is SOOOOO what Ineeded right now. I look forward to reading more on your blog. Your jewelry is beautiful. This months bead trends cover was my favorite so far! Just beautiful. Congrats on that! I am happy we are on this journey together!

Jenners said...

That was so sad ... and the reactions when she was defending herself re: the collage of Sarah Palin were just so ignorant.

Attitudes and people like this are one of the reasons why my husband doesn't want me to post my child's photo on my blog. I always think he is so paranoid but sometimes you do see how ugly people are. I love to believe all people are good deep down (I HAVE to believe that) but there is a lot of ugliness.

I hope your friend is able to defend herself and her images.

Serena Lewis said...

Sadly, there are nasty people out there who steal the work of others and claim it as their own. I feel for your friend as she must feel so violated....I know I would.


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