Using Other People’s Images To Market Your Skill As An Artist Is Probably Not A Good Idea

A couple weeks back we suggested that a bit of Google Image research can help prevent consumers from investing in a Kickstarter project that isn’t legitimate. But one project creator thought it would be okay to use results of a Google Image search to promote her ability as an artist.

Once again, it was PledgeWeak.com that first brought public attention to a Kickstarter project where things didn’t seem quite right.

The project, posted by a young woman who says she’s an art student in Massachusetts, offers to create custom artwork of sponsors’ pets in time for Valentine’s Day:

With the funds that I receive from this project, I will make sure to use the highest quality paints, paper, canvas, markers, etc. The illustrations will be professional grade, as I am a perfectionist and love what I do!

I will draw or paint a portrait of your pet with a custom message of your choice and deliver it to your door so you can gift it to your special someone.

The project originally included a handful of what you would believe are sample pieces of artwork by the young artist.

Here’s a screengrab of the page as it was on Saturday morning:

The red paw and the other three illustrations originally posted on this Kickstarter project came from a Google Image search.

The red paw and the other three illustrations originally posted on this Kickstarter project came from a Google Image search.

As Pledgeweak pointed out, all of the artwork had actually been lifted from a variety of sites — three stock image companies and one from artist Cordula Kerlikowski.

Out of curiosity, I contacted the project’s creator via Kickstarter to ask about her allegedly posting other people’s artwork on a project intended to sell her own pieces.

She replied a few hours later:

I don’t own a big enough scanner to upload my art pieces, and what I said on my kickstarter is “these are some examples of what I can do”. I googled some examples that are very similar to mine, and thats why I used those. I am not selling the images that I have uploaded, just showing the type of style of art I can do. The changes have been made to the project to avoid any further confusion. Thanks for pointing this out.

Of course, selling art on spec isn’t unheard of. Artist Steve Keene is well-known for charging patrons a flat rate of $30 in exchange for five new paintings. But people who purchase Keene’s artwork are buying it with at least a basic understanding of his particular style, not because he posted art by painters he likes.

The Kickstarter user finished off her response to me by writing, “I hope your career as a reporter really takes off in the future.”

Which reminds me that I need to check with 60 Minutes to see if they received that DVD of Anderson Cooper clips that I sent in along with a note reading, “I can do stuff like this. Hire me.”