Today I got the following entry in my guestbook (now deleted):

Guestbook Entry: Sadly your art reflects no originality. Unfortunately all I see here are graphics you have gathered from sources on the web (i.e. google and yahoo images) and have added bits of clipart and color too, and attempted to pass off as your own creations. Your “Summer King” is a well known picture originally entitled “The Oak King”. You should be ashamed.

No email address was given (of course), but my guestbook stamped it as being posted from, which seems to have originated from a Comcast address somewhere near Seattle, WA

My response: I was only half upset at reading this today. Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion, but the charge that I have collected other people’s work and passed it off as my own is simply false. Interestingly enough they specifically mention “The Summer King“, saying that it is someone else’s artpiece that I simply re-titled… weird. The model in this piece is a friend of mine (just as ALL of my models are… I have all the original pictures from the photoshoots, copies of their IDs, and signed model releases for each of them). Even the flowers and scenery are either pictures from my own backyard, or from one of my trips. Admittedly, the stag head is a picture I found on the web, but it has been so re-worked as to be completly unrecognizable when compared to its original form. I suppose it is possible that someone else has stolen this piece from me and is now passing it off as “The Oak King” (I’ve caught three or four people stealing my art before) but I find it tiresome that someone might see this and then fly off the handle and accuse me of artistic plagiarism with no real knowledge to back it up. For the record: The vast majority of the photo components that I use are my own original pieces, and while it is true that I may from time to time use a publicly available image as a part of a larger composition (animals, plants, historical sites and statuary, etc.) I make a concerted effort to change them so that they are unique to the piece that I am creating. Could this be what they are referring to? I certainly do more than just “add bits of clipart and color” to my pieces.

So… Artista… if you are out there reading this… calm down and think next time before you accuse someone of wrong doing. Do some research. Make sure you know what you are talking about. Don’t waste your time being ashamed… just use your energy to better yourself. Or at the very least refrain from signing my guestbook!