When you take from an artist, you leave behind a legacy of emotion: confusion, hatred, annoyance, anger, fear, hilarity, and more are reported by artists who have had others steal from them or who have had close calls.
“Why would someone take my art?” Sometimes it is confusing because the artist doesn’t believe in themselves or their product. They find it confusing or funny that someone would take the time to trace, steal, or otherwise resell their work. And it does take time to steal art – it actually takes less time to properly share art or to just appreciate it. Tracing, basing, reselling, etc all take time and some artists find it funny people waste that much time just to get called out and in trouble.
“WTF is wrong with people!? Assholes!” Sometimes it produces an anger response because the artist’s hard work is taken and either sold or worked over into a new work (still recognizable). Artists get angry because they lose income, visibility, and reputation, and they are tied to these cobbled together works of trash and the drama that ensues as people find out and go to trolling and white-knighting.
“This shit is stupid.” Sometimes artists are annoyed by what is going on with their art being stolen. It takes time for people to be assholes and time to undo the damage they have done. Even though a DMCA Takedown can be done for free, it takes time and effort on the part of the artist to create and send in. It is very annoying to have to do once let alone a whole bunch of times! Sometimes artists get stalkers, harassers, or general haters and trolls that can be very annoying as they try to reclaim their own property.
“What am I supposed to do now?” Sometimes there is fear. Fear of the unknown – what do you do, where do you get the forms, how do you fill them out, where do you sent them..? Financial fears for artists who rely on their craft to pay their bills. When people steal their art and start selling it, that creates doubt as to who the original artist is, so even if an artist gets the art removed, it hurts their sales in the long run. And fear of the future because now that it has happened once, some artists become fearful and paranoid that it will happen again.
“It’s kind of … nice?” Some artists feel a little thrill when their art is stolen. It is nice to sometimes feel appreciated, even if that appreciation comes in such a negative form. The artists that note this feeling do state that they were also angry about it, but it was weirdly nice to be thought of.
Theft – be it in entirety or altering the original piece – for sale or not – is a serious issue that artists face on a daily basis. From the professionals to the novices – from those with great art to those with less-than-great art – art theft across many forms happens and leaves its mark on each artist. And it leaves each artist feeling differently and, depending on the outcome, changes the behavior of the artist in the future.
I’ve had my work stolen on a few occasions, especially in recent times. It’s not a good thing to have happen to anyone, but in my experience, it feels kind of… I don’t know… In a weird way it was kind of nice to know that my art was good enough to be considered being stolen, and yeah, I know that may sound odd… Although the persistent feeling of knowing people can and will try and do such bad things out of spite is enough to make me want to watermark and put a digital fingerprint on all my artwork. It’s enough to make my blood boil… Luckily enough, there is something you can do in the event of a thief/troll stealing your art. ~FizzyPinkBubbles
To be honest, this kind of thievery rarely happens to me since my art style is not certainly everyone’s cup of tea, but seeing two of my artworks (one of them is collab art) stolen by a few people makes me more confused after all. ~lorreinegeralde
I’m not popular enough for that to have happened, though I imagine it would drive me insane. ~star3catcher
I had my artwork stolen back then by a bunch of stupid trolls, who also made fun of me. They even harassed me as a result. Thankfully, nowadays, there are very little trolls attacking me and my artwork doesn’t get stolen often. ~rebeccachu-chan