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Posts Tagged ‘rants’

WatermarkExample

So I have been digging into copyright issues of late. This all started when I was re-informed that sites like Facebook and Pinterest have a clause in their ToS that states images posted on these sites can be sold by them to any one for any amount of money without so much as a howdy-de-do to the original poster. So yes that means any copyrighted images as well as photos of you and your family are up for grabs.

Now I had first heard of this change before I was ever on facebook and so it went into the circular file labelled “not about me” and I promptly forgot all about it. But recently fate put this concept in front of me again and I’m like “Whaaaaat?”

Now I want to say I don’t plan to get all fanatical about it. Getting robbed in some small way or fashion happens all the time to artists. Personally I know of t-shirts that were made illegally as well as a wall mural. Notecards that were not printed by me have also surfaced. But this I think is bigger and has the potential to really ruin an artist’s livelihood.

So I began digging deeper and realized as someone who makes my living selling my images this could really ruin the whole shebang.

The Plot Thickens
Both Facebook & Pinterest have disclaimers that say things like, they own posted images once posted to their platforms and pinterest states that the pinner must have permission to pin items and that they, the company in fact are not responsible for folks who do inappropriate pinning. When a person signs up for either of these platforms they agree to these terms with the click of a mouse button.

And now Bing has made it ever so easy to pin your favorite whatevers and in fact has gone so far as to offer a tool that you can download so you can pin anything regardless of whether the site has a pin feature. This nifty convenience also bypasses any no-pin code placed on images. (yeah, seriously!)

So Where’s The Harm?

I’ve asked myself this for months now.

Well … if an artist works really hard to be unique and creative and that in and of itself creates collectors. Now let’s say anybody admiring said artist’s style could make copies for themselves with the amazingly simple click of a button … what do you think that does to the market for which the creative individual worked so hard to build and live off of?

Pinterest in particular is creating a world of takers. It’s easy and free so why pay? Hey everybody’s doing it…

But If You Don’t Want It Taken, Don’t Put It Online!
That is the argument one hears over and over again. From every pinner slapped by Pinterest after an artist has issued a takedown notice, or by every blogger using other’s images to illustrate their blog by Google after an artist has issued a DMCA or even major corporations thinking that if it’s been pinned a million times, why should they pay for an image when it’s free from pinterest.

I find this a flawed logic. It’s like saying it you don’t want your writings plagerized don’t be published.

To me someone using my image without my permission is no different than if they walked into my gallery or home and took money off my counter.

So What’s A Gal To Do?
Well I’m back to making it less appealing for someone to pay Facebook or imagery theives to desire my artwork. This means changing my copyright notices on each image to being larger and more invasive. Sadly this means most likely I’ll need to do all of them on my website as well.

Some of you may remember I included a copyright notice at the bottom of my art images posted online. But I kept it small so it was unobtrusive and coincidentally easy to chop off the bottom of the image for any poachers.

In the next post or two
I plan to talk more about ways in which to make your images less tempting and perhaps show how to create a very easy watermark in Photoshop.

I have been reading a bunch of articles, blog posts and news statements about various artists fight to keep their right to their own images. Here’s one that is over long in my opinion but is written with wit and whimsy in a fairytale style. Purple Cow … A Cautionary Tale

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Roof Rage

So I know I’ve been MIA for awhile now. I try not to do that. I try to keep up with doing all those things that I used to do before my tiny little universe began to crumble. But at the end of the day when the pressure gets too much for me and I just want to lock my door, crawl in a dark cubbyhole with a 2 liter Diet Coke and a chocolate cake … well somethings gotta give.

This past week I’ve been sick. Nothing serious just my usual sinus stuff that crops up this time of year because of the dry air and high stress level of working a hard Fall art fair schedule. So I spent my birthday under a mountain of blankets, feeling miserable, alone and sorry for myself. I think it’s okay to hang out in pity party land for awhile but it’s not healthy to stay there so I force myself to get up and laugh at the face of adversity … just to prove that I can and to prove that I’m one tough mofo.

So today I am upright. coughing and snuffly but back to dealing with things as they come up and then I am faced with this first thing this morning….

This is a ripple in my roof at the gallery. It is being caused my the jacking up of a rafter that has sunk and is being repaired. It apparently has been sunk for a very. very long time because way back when the city owned the building they put on a new roof without fixing the rafter then. So now I can’t get the rafter back to where it’s supposed to go without doing major damage to the roof. Currently the rafter is only 1/4 of the way that it’s supposed to go to fit properly. I am probably just stuck putting a post under it and praying it all lasts as long as I need it to.

Still pisses me off a bit that if the city went to the expense of roofing the place they could have fixed the rafter then, as it is a kinda minor fix compared to a new roof. Okay rant over … for now.

So yeah… I have found that nothing gets me from whiny-self-involved-git to one-tough-mofo that embracing a little anger.

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Worst Art Fair …. ever.

Rant Warning
While technically this isn’t a rant because I’m not in any way angry, it does lean a bit on the vulgar side.

You have been warned!

Umm, yeah. So the event didn’t quite go as planned. It rained while we were setting up and then the sun came out and stayed out all day. It got hot.

Really hot.

The high heat coupled with sales so infinitesimal as to be non existent makes for seriously cranky 2-d artists. I say this because the jeweler next to me killed as did of course my beloved potter friend. I had a good friend (and fellow critter painter) as a neighbor which i enjoyed because I usually do only one event a year with him. He does awesome and delicate bird watercolors, though frankly his landscapes are stunning and my personal favorite. He doesn’t have a website so no link.

Why The Low Sales?

The Lakes Art Center event was larger this year than before and because like most art events looking to make a buck, when they discovered artists will pay more for a corner spot they created all these little island of booths and scattered them around the park. On the plus side this makes the event look huge but it also makes it more challenging to navigate and to return to any particular artist.

We (myself and the 2 other 2d artists in my booth island) were on the far end (as well as back side) of the fair layout. This is never a good location. A couple other painter friends of mine both had a moderate to good event and both were located closer to the heart. But who knows why. I’ve been doing this long enough that I don’t get bent out of shape. Though my neighbor swore he would never return.

I’m not sure why but I found it all lightly amusing. Usually earning next to nothing while I sweat off 20 pounds of water weight does not get this kind of response. Perhaps I’ve been doing this so long there are no surprises left. Or perhaps I’ve had much bigger trials in my life lately which make a bad show seem completely inconsequential. Whatever the reason I’m back in the gallery and itching to start a new piece of art. (read that as, I “want” to start something but I’ve spent most of my day ambling aimlessly and drawing cartoons for this post)

Sadly though I was so distracted with trying to remain conscious in the heat that I didn’t take any pictures. So I drew a before and after picture of myself to illustrate the trauma that was this event.


Buy Something Or Get The Hell Out!

I can’t tell you how many people asked for a business card because it was “too hot to shop and decide on exactly which print they wanted.” This is frustrating because most of the time they never follow through and order online. Most likely they will buy the following year instead, which is okay but I’m pretty sure I won’t be back at least for a couple of years.

The heat and lack of sales did make me less than perky. Not cranky mind. Just not my bubbly effervescent self. I have been in worse moods (though doubtful any worse events) because I remained pleasant and when startled out of my haze by a passerby felt no need to glower at them. And when things go really downhill I get to feeling kinda of stabby and do not suffer fools well.

I’m all “No, you can’t charge that $2 greeting card,” and “Yes that original painting is $1200.00 and not a $12.00 typo” or when some comedic genius makes the oh so moronic “Horse’s Ass” comment (that I’ve heard for the millionth time,) I start fishing around for something pointy in which to end them with. A sure sign I’ve hit rock bottom is when it takes all my strength not to scream “Buy something or get the hell out!”

At one event several years ago my brother was at an event with me and he’s like “So you just sit here and watch the turds float by.” I’m like “Yeah, pretty much.” That is as good an explanation of what this event was like for me as any.

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In The End I Blame Disney

It has been awhile since I’ve done a rant.
So at the moment my marriage is going through a rough patch. This is not news to most who know me personally. After 20 some years these things happen.

But nonetheless it gets me to pondering my own ideas about love and marriage and how did I miss out on getting my “Happily Ever After.” Indeed why did I ever think I’d get a happily ever after in the first place. So I felt the need for letting a little of the crazy (and by crazy I mean bitterness) out. On the whole this helps me to feel far less stabby.

This post has nothing to do with art or critters or my usually perky disposition
, so feel free to skip over and come back tomorrow for the Tree Topper painting start to finish post.

Bad Boys are sexy.
I am currently out of fresh reading material so I have started rereading the twilight series books as I enjoyed them the first time despite being far older than their target audience. I was talking with a friend the other day about how I can see the huge allure of the storyline for teens despite the fact that the book is full of really bad messages for young girls. She agreed and said the bad boy type is a strong fantasy for most girls. Truthfully most never grow out of it and maybe that’s why so many … um … older than target audience type women read them as well.

Why is this do you suppose? Well as the post title implies I blame Disney.

Both Disney and Twilight like to think their message is “Love conquers all, even death.” But here’s what the Twilight books are really telling young girls and the various and subtle ways in which Disney said it first:

Twilight:: If a boy doesn’t like you, just keep trying. This is especially true if he hints at wanting to kill you. Also his being rich makes it all worthwhile.
Beauty and the Beast: Scary, dangerous men (or beast) who are rich will in the end, make a good husband because you can change him if you try hard enough.

Twilight: Creepy stalker behavior like watching you while you sleep is really just romantic.
Snow White: Rest easy and eventually prince charming will arrive to be there to wake you up. And if you’re really pretty, it doesn’t even matter if you’re already living with a bunch of other men.

Twilight:: If a boy dumps you, start doing life threatening activities because you are really nothing unless you’re with him.
Pocahontas You need to be willing to leave everything you’ve always known including family and friends for a man when he asks you to or else he’ll leave without you.

Twilight: If all else fails, change enough (ie die) and you will get him in the end.
Little Mermaid If you’re willing to change everything that you are, you can win yourself a handsome husband.

Bonus Twilight Message: Nice guys are not nearly as good a choice for life partner as scary, murdery types who hurt you.
Bonus Disney Message: Cinderella: If you are a pretty girl, you don’t need to work your way up in the world. You just have to “pretend” (deceive is such a ugly word) to be rich in order to get a man to fall in love with you and then he’ll take care of everything.

UPDATED:
I just googled I Blame Disney and apparently I’m not the only one. It has 18,500,000 search results. Wow! And here i thought I was being original.

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Flattery Will Get You Nowhere
So are spammers getting smarter or do they just think bloggers will fall for a little flattery and are too dumb to catch on. I have a spam filter (of course) for the blog but lately a couple have got held for moderation. And I can see why. They actually appear to have read the post and made a comment in relation to that post. I’ve had about half a dozen or so in the past few weeks like the ones shown below.

Wow, I never would have imagined that so many colours were needed. It looks incredible. I think I need to come and watch you work in the flesh 🙂

Hey Mona (just catching up on your posts after a week away!) I love your art. You are awesome! : )

Dear Spammers,

Here’s the thing. However lovely these comments may be and however much I like my vanity stroked, if your name and url have anything to do with chemically enhanced eyelashes or extending my manhoods girth, it’s not getting through. I don’t care how many sweet words you whisper in my ear.

And besides dear spammers, this takes time and effort. Couldn’t that effort be put to a better use than harassing bloggers. Seriously there’s got to be a better way of making money and generating traffic.

So Bloggers, be vigilant and don’t fall for this. All it takes is one tiny success for them before we’re inundated with this sort of garbage. It really makes me want to get even. I mean how else will they learn?

UPDATED:

Okay now you guys are just torking me off I got this today in my filter. This is an actual comment that was scraped and re-entered under their URL. Time to Black List I’m thinking. (sigh)

Dear Buddha,
Your artistic rendering of a dead horse is startlingly (is that a word?) realistic and very colorful. You are the cats meow! Belly rub coming soon.
Love, Aunt Linda

Actually now that I think of it, I think the first comment was one made by Joan awhile back. Grrrr.

UPDATED AGAIN:

Dear Little Blueish-Purplish Pillish People,
Are you one of the millions of men suffering from lack of male confidence? Do you want to impress the ladies? Well buy my horse art. Show that special someone that you are man enough to purchase horse art. Your confidence will swell and you’ll be the envy of men everywhere who can’t decorate.

And for even more confidence, try my new and improved Draft Horse Art. It doesn’t get more macho than that.

Potential side effects include neurosis and insomnia. Because no matter what, deep down you know you’re not “more confident” than a draft horse. If problem persists remove artwork and consult your interior decorator.

Anyone Else Want To Try A Letter?

Leave it in the comments sections.

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The Definition of Awesome (a rant)

Disclaimer As with all my rants for those of you who don’t want to be smudged with my cranky mood juju, it might be best to skip the post. I often ponder the wisdom of ranting online. You know because I like my blog to be a happy place where magical unicorns spronk through imaginary meadows. But sometimes I just need to let the crazy out.

You know what’s awesome?
A year and a half ago I got my property tax bill and it was double what it was the year before. And I’m like “awesome.

So I talk to my banker who happens to be the guru of all things monetary in our humble little town and he says I could and perhaps should file an appeal. So I call the court house and they are not at all very friendly. In fact grumpy would be a pretty good assessment. The gist being I would need to file during a two week period sometime 8 months in the future. (Yeah, seriously) So I make notes to remind myself to be sure to get the appropriate paperwork during the tiny little window known as the required time.

And a miraculous event occurs, I actually do. I really hate government paperwork because it is not exactly easy for me to comprehend. I fill out the form and mail it in before the due date requesting a meeting with the board. I am later told that I have no valid (legal) leg to stand on for my appeal and my only hope is to talk to the board. (Well isn’t that just ducky. ur … i mean awesome.)

So when the board comes to the gallery and I give them the nickel tour. it goes well (I think) and the assessor is very nice. A few weeks later I get a letter stating my building’s value have been lowered and thus my taxes. I’m like “AWESOME!” Best not to really think about what that means.

Fast forward to the present

I just got this years tax bill and I’m like “WTF Dude!” It’s actually MORE than previously charged. It seems that despite my property being declared less valuable, the taxes actually went up again.

According to the radio the property tax for the average iowa family will go up about $200 this year. And yes with the business it’s more. And yes I get hit twice because of the farm and business.

“Well that’s just totally awesome!”

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Last week upon returning from the art fair I popped out the next day to restock the house with sustenance. Still exhausted from a weekend of hard manual labor and sweltering heat and humidity, I was much too tired in the morning to cook my usual breakfast of a veggie hash with fat free ham and fruit. So I settle for a bread roll . . . plain, and prepare for a day of shopping. (Note: not a good diabetic breakfast, at all.)

About 4 o’clock I’m feelin’ a bit peckish (because all I’ve had is that roll for the past 8 hours) and so I head over to a common fast food stop. Since this is derogatory post, I won’t mention it by name. Let’s just call it Kenlucky Freed Chuckwagon, or KFC for short. (I could totally write code for the government.)

Now I should say that I am primarily a diet controlled diabetic, meaning that I don’t take insulin and so therefor I don’t have to worry about coma or anything from my low blood sugar. The worst thing that will happen if I starve for a day is that I’ll get cranky. Occasionally really, really cranky. (Yeah I know, surprising huh? I bet ya’ll thought I’m all unicorns and rainbows all the time.)

So I order and sit down and wait. I tend to be a very patient person in general. But in this instance perhaps I should have acted just a little more quickly. It took me until somewhere around the 12th customer who came after me and got fed, before I get up. By now I’m feelin’s some serious cranky come’n on.

Me: Goes to counter which takes a minute or so to get a cashier because some off-duty workers come in and are chatting with those on duty. I make eye contact with one and say, “So where’s my food?”

KFC: Huh?

Me: “I’ve been waiting for a long time and about a dozen people have gotten their food. What’s the hold up?”

KFC “Uh,” Turns to kitchen “Where’s this lady’s order?” Mumbling and a lot of shrugging occurs.

Me: “It’s been like 15 minutes” Crankier and crankier.

KFC: “We need to see your receipt.”

Me: Presents receipt with a bit more of a dramatic flourish than was necessarily warranted. All the while wondering to self if they are aware of the beast in me emerging like a Werewolf in a full moon.

KFC: Looks through computer log in state of confusion. Chaos ensues for an additional minute or two.

Me:
Seeing that no one is planning on just filling my order, but rather are intent on figuring out the mystery of it all. I say “Just give me my money back.” Said really low in a threatening growl. (The rabid wolf is just barely restrained from lunging over the counter.) At this point I realize my attitude is is exceeding the severity of the situation. But for some reason I can’t quite rein it in.

KFC: cashier disappears into kitchen and fails to return. (Perhaps to find some silver bullets) A minute later another server appears and begins to refund my money.

Me: “I did get my soda so just refund the other stuff” By now I’m feelin’ incredibly stabby because nobody has once offered an apology for the problem. I didn’t need them on their knees begging, just a polite statement saying they regret my inconvenience.

KFC: Avoids eye contact (which is probably for the best because I am shooting him daggers with my eyes) Hands me my money and promptly dashes away without a single word uttered at all. Customer appears to my right.

Them: Um . . . we didn’t order this.” Looks sideways at me and offers a small smile. Yup my long lost lunch. They stuck it in with someone else’s.

KFC: Takes tray from customer and holds it out in my general direction like “Here you go. Whew crisis diverted.”

ME: Looking incredulous.

KFC: Seeing that I am apparently not grasping the simplicity of her body language says. “Do you want this?”

Me: I remain verbally silent But look at her like “Seriously? It’s been setting out for over 15 minutes and someone else has handled it. are you dim or something” All the while my mind was pondering the various ways I could commit murder with the plastic cutlery at hand. Eventually I settle on the spork as my weapon of choice. (Oh yeah, I’m a great multi-tasker.)

KFC: “Well What should I do with this?”

Me: (I know right? What an invitation) Proof that I hadn’t completely shifted over into kill mode meant that I just turned around and walked out silently, while she still held the tray in my general direction.

The Happy Ending
I then go to Hardees. A place I pretty much never eat. The cashier guy was incredibly friendly and helpful. So much so I was wondering if he was hitting on me, or perhaps he’s just skilled with rangling Werewolves. At his suggestion I tried their hand-breaded chicken strips with beer battered onions rings . . . and it was heavenly.

I noticed when I first took my food I was a little shaky. More so I think from my barely averted spork killing spree than low blood sugar. But upon leaving Hardees I was almost back to being all unicorns and rainbows.

Almost.

Driving away, I glance down to my glovebox, secure in the knowledge that hidden somewhere in it’s depths, is a shiny, new plastic-wrapped spork.

NOTE: I understand that my reaction (and by reaction I mean rage) was a bit more than it should have been. Tired from the weekend’s event and not having eaten all day pushed me over the edge. I have worked in the fast food industry when I was in college and I know it’s not exactly a thrilling job. But still, I did not yell or scream (despite really really wanting to) so I am surprised at the lack of customer service on their end. Perhaps they were just crappy servers. Or perhaps I wasn’t controlling the crazy as well as I thought. Most likely it was a little of both.

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